Big Nashville crowds and ‘innumerable’ drink sales


CMA Fest is back and the streets of downtown Nashville will be filled with thousands of fans and country music for the next four days.

For the locals who want to be reminded where all the road closures are, we’ve got you. For the fans who want to keep up with the artists they missed, we’re also here for you.

Who to see at CMA Fest?Lainey Wilson and 8 other can’t miss acts to see on Day One

Follow along here for the Tennessean’s live coverage of the artists, weather, fashion and other highlights from the festival.

Medical incidents minimal…so far

The medical tents, staffed by Vanderbilt University Medical Center Events Team, have had minimal visits four hours into the festival.

As temperatures increase in the coming days, heat related illnesses are sure to increase. For now though, staff plan to revel in the slow day.

The biggest medical need so far? Band-Aids.

Blisters will be the downfall of anyone wearing “their fancy new cowboy boots,” staff said.

“We’ve given out so, so many Band-Aids for that,” staff said.

49 Winchester kicks off set at Spotify House

Appalachian folk band 49 Winchester’s lead singer Isaac Gibson heralded two kinds of music — that which is traditionally and authentically country and Western — were to reign supreme during CMA Fest’s early afternoon offerings at Ole Red’s Spotify House.

Perhaps spurred by being in Nashville, the Americana Music Association Group of the Year-nominated act kicked off their set with “Damn Darlin’,” a tale of heartbreak told with the “Rock Block”‘s EXIT/IN as the backdrop. “Russell County Line,” another single, is a heart-warming hometown tale highlighting how closely the band straddles the intersections of country, rock and roots music.

The band’s inclusion on the CMA Fest lineup at Spotify House is a tremendous showcase of the real-time interplay between a band that fans are discovering on streaming services (co-signs from ERNEST and Luke Combs aid that) and a group whose performance skills are so strong that they’ll also gain fans from just providing a fantastic live experience.

Alcohol sales ‘innumerable’

Employees at the official alcohol stations say that the alcohol sales just at Riverfront stage are “innumerable,” making at least a thousand drinks sold by noon, with many thousands more expected by this evening.

Lauren Alaina keeps the good vibes going

Artist Lauren Alaina took the stage at Riverfront Park to enthusiastic fans who sang alond to some of her biggest hits.

After leading the crowd in unison for her son “Road Less Traveled,” the fervor ramped up as Alaina reminded attendees of her newest album, “Unlocked,” dropping tomorrow, June 9.

Camden Keene stood on the lawn of Riverfront Park, overlooking the massive crowd gathered for artists like Lainey Wilson, Elvie Shane and Alaina. Keene, along with her family, traveled from North Carolina after planning this trip for over a year.

“We’re so excited to finally be here,” she said. “We’ve enjoyed every artist we’ve seen so far, especially Lauren Alaina. And there’s more weekend to go!”

Gillian Barnett traveled with family from Toronto, Ontario for her first trip to CMA Fest. She’s most looking forward to seeing Luke Combs at Nissan Stadium tonight.

Riverfront Stage will close and open throughout the day

Riverfront Stage’s capacity will be managed throughout the day with gates closing and reopening as necessary, according to the festival’s Twitter account.

Lines queues on Broadway between 1st and 2nd Avenues, then up 2nd Avenue North.

Lainey Wilson kicking off Riverfront Stage

CMA Fest 2023 kicked off with a Grammy-winning marching band from Tennessee State University playing brass renditions of hip-hop classics, followed by Country Music Association Female Artist of the Year Lainey Wilson opening the proceedings.

If you are wondering what the vibe is of the next four days on Lower Broadway, the Baskin, Louisiana native mentioned country music, Western culture, love, “Watermelon Moonshine” (her current radio single) and coffee-spiked whiskey within the first ten minutes of hitting the stage.

Lainey Wilson performs on the first day of CMA Fest in Nashville, Tenn., Thursday morning, June 8, 2023.

The jam-packed Riverfront Stage is already well acquainted with the two albums and four No. 1 singles of material Wilson has released in the past three years. She followed it, as she often does now in concert, with a solo version of her HARDY collaboration “wait in the truck” and another hit, “Heart Like A Truck.” 

The crowd appeared excited, yet mesmerized as the temperature, with humidity, feels as if it was raised 20 degrees in the half-hour in which she appeared onstage.

Riverfront Stage gates close

The gates at Riverfront Stage are temporarily closed as capacity for the venue has been reached, according to the festival.

Gates will open as soon as possible. Check with the for other free stages.

Aristocrat of Bands kicks off 50th CMA Fest

From the Grammy stage to the Riverfront Stage of CMA Fest, the Tennessee Marching Band, better known as the Aristocrat of Bands, get the Thursday morning crowd ready for a day of entertainment.

What to know about attending CMA Fest

CMA Fest does require clear bags for entry. According to their website, security will allow one clear bag no larger than 12-by-12-by-6 inches per person.

Festivalgoers are allowed to bring in one refillable water bottle and will have access to several water refill stations. Locations for those can be found at or on the CMA Fest mobile app.

All vendors and venues are cashless. Make sure to carry a debit or credit card or set up Apple or Google pay on your phone ahead of time. And for those hoping to enjoy an adult beverage, don’t forget a valid photo ID.

More:CMA Fest 2023: A guide for first-time festival-goers and seasoned veterans

CMA Road Closures

Several streets downtown are shut down at least through Sunday. Others around Nissan stadium will be closed through Monday.

The closures center around Broadway and the areas where CMA Fest will have their stages set up.

A detailed list of closures can be found at this link.

Road closures have begun in downtown Nashville and will continue through the end of CMA Fest on Sunday with a few closures remaining through Monday, June 12.

CMA weather forecast

The National Weather expects sunny skies through the majority of the festival with temperatures starting in the low 80s and steadily climbing as the days go on.

There may be widespread haze througout the area Thursday as remanants of wildfire smoke from Canada lingers across ther region.

Sunday there’s a 80% chance of showers and thunderstorms after 1 p.m.

More:CMA Fest 2023: Here’s what kind of weather to expect in Nashville

Luke Combs performs during CMA Fest at Nissan Stadium Saturday, June 11, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn.

Who is on the lineup for Thursday

Music will start at 10 a.m. Thursday with the biggest artists taking the stage around 7:45 p.m. at Nissan Stadium.

For the lineup for the entire weekend click here.

Riverfront Stage

  • 10 a.m.: Lainey Wilson
  • 10:45 a.m.: Elvie Shane
  • 11:30 a.m.: Lauren Alaina
  • 12:15 p.m.: Ian Munsick
  • 1 p.m.: MacKenzie Porter
  • 1:45 p.m.: Chayce Beckham
  • 2:30 p.m.: Corey Kent
  • 3:15 p.m.: Warren Zeiders
  • 4 p.m.: Lily Rose
  • 4:45 p.m.: Travis Denning
  • 5:30 p.m.: Bailey Zimmerman

Vibes Stage

  • 10:15 a.m.: Jerrod Neimann
  • 11 a.m.: Meghan Patrick
  • 11:45 a.m.: Shane Profitt
  • 12:30 p.m.: Tiera Kennedy
  • 1:15 p.m.: Canaan Smith
  • 2 p.m.: Ryan Griffin
  • 2:45 p.m.: Halle Kearns
  • 3:30 p.m.: Adam Doleac
  • 4:15 p.m.: Dillon Carmichael

Amp Stage

  • 10:15 a.m.: RaeLynn
  • 11 a.m.: Frankie Ballard
  • 11:45 a.m.: Logan Michael
  • 12:30 p.m.: Caitlyn Smith
  • 1:15 p.m.: The Red Clay Strays
  • 2 p.m.: David Nail
  • 2:45 p.m.: Seaforth
  • 3:30 p.m.: Shenandoah
  • 4:15 p.m.: Kidd G

Hard Rock Stage

  • 10:15 a.m.: Texas Hill
  • 10:55 a.m.: Emily Ann Roberts
  • 11:35 a.m.: Matt Roy
  • 12:15 p.m.: Fancy Hagood
  • 12:55 p.m.: Roman Alexander
  • 1:35 p.m.: Skyelor Anderson
  • 2:15 p.m.: Jordan Harvey
  • 2:55 p.m.: Shelby Darrall
  • 3:35 p.m.: Walker Montgomery
  • 4:15 p.m.: CJ Solar

Reverb Stage

  • 10:15 a.m.: John Morgan
  • 10:55 a.m.: Drew Green
  • 11:35 a.m.: Abbey Cone
  • 12:15 p.m.: Casey Barnes
  • 12:55 p.m.: Riley Roth
  • 1:35 p.m.: Bryan Martin
  • 2:15 p.m.: Thomas Mac
  • 2:55 p.m.: Pillbox Patti
  • 3:35 p.m.: Griffen Palmer
  • 4:15 p.m.: Lathan Warlick

Spotlight Stage

  • 11 a.m.: Julie Williams
  • 11:30 a.m.: Loren Ryan
  • 12 p.m.: Nat Barnes
  • 12:30 p.m.: Karley Scott Collins
  • 1 p.m.: Flat River Band
  • 1:30 p.m.: Grace Leer
  • 2 p.m.: Charly Reynolds
  • 2:30 p.m.: MaRynn Taylor
  • 3 p.m.: Pryor Baird
  • 3:30 p.m.: Sarah Allison Turner
  • 4 p.m.: CB30
  • 4:30 p.m.: Alexandra Kay

Nissan Stadium

  • 7:45 p.m.: King Calaway
  • 8 p.m.: Jo Dee Messina
  • 8:30 p.m.: Jordan Davis
  • 8:55 p.m.: RVSHVD*
  • 9:05 p.m.: Luke Combs
  • 9:45 p.m.: Ashley Cooke*
  • 9:55 p.m.: Carly Pearce
  • 10:40 p.m.: Tyler Hubbard
  • 11:25 p.m.: Dan + Shay

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