CMA Music Fest's Future

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Kix Brooks of the duo Brooks & Dunn made some news yesterday as he discussed some thoughts on the CMA Music Festival's future in Nashville. No, he didn't say its moving to another city or anything like that, in the immediate future anyway. What he did discuss is the issue of the artists are not paid for their performances at this event and that issue could lead to the Festival leaving Nashville. Brooks commented that he feels that the upcoming festival could be a "serious crossroads" for the CMA Music Festival.

Yes, believe it or not, performers at the CMA Music Festival do not get paid for their performances. You did read that correctly, they never have. The festival has always been a way of giving back to the fans as a lot of people say, yet, we still have to pay for a ticket and all that comes with going to a major event, for most of us that is out of town. Now, I do agree with that thought in the aspect of the ability for all (ticketed) music fans get the opportunity to meet their favorite artists is indeed a way to give back to the fans, and shouldn't get compensation for that appearance.

However, I do understand and support the idea of the performers getting appropriate and fair compensation for their performance. There many reasons. First the city of Nashville brings in about 21 million dollars from hotels and other related purchases while fans are staying in Nashville. Second, the fans are paying a premium for tickets, just as much if you went to see a performer that was being compensated for their appearance. Thirdly, the numerous people behind the scenes have to make a living. Just because a Kenny Chesney type performer can personally afford not to get paid for a show, doesn't mean the people in his band or others that are affiliated with him can. It isn't fair to them or the artist to have to take a loss to perform at a show of this caliber.

Another point that is made in the article is that a major music festival can be done, with compensating the performers. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and New Orleans' Jazz and Heritage Festival is proof.

I believe like Kix Brooks makes an extremely valid point and Nashville's decision makers better take notice. He is right; it may not be immediate, but those leader's may wake up one morning and learn the CMA Music Festival is moving to another town; their 21 million may not be there, and then they would be wishing that just a little of that could've gone to the performers and kept the festival there.

Also, I suggest they act quickly in the decision making as well. Richmond, VA has proof of that. The Richmond Braves (AAA affiliate to the Atlanta Braves) wanted a new stadium. The city kept planning and thinking about it and never demonstrated an urgent reaction, and well the 2009 season, The Richmond Braves become the Gwinnett, GA Braves. I feel the same way about this topic as I do the CMA Music Festival. I don't blame the organization for leaving; they needed something done and somewhere else provided what they wanted.