Your Ultimate CMA Fest Tip Sheet
Make the most of country music’s biggest week with the help of expert tips from the Opry.
By Katie Quine • May 7, 2019
1. Plan your days, but be flexible
Choosing among hundreds of artists to see live over the course of the week is no small feat, but there are tools to help you plan.
With a few clicks on the CMA Fest app, you can customize a schedule that includes all your favorite artists and set reminders that notify you shortly before an artist steps onto one of the festival’s official stages.
The fun doesn’t stop there! The Grand Ole Opry will be hosting several exciting events the week of CMA Fest. Enjoy a free Plaza Party ahead of Tuesday night’s back-to-back Opry shows, which will feature live music, food trucks, games, and more. Then join us for more performances on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, including an Opry Country Classics matinee at Ryman Auditorium. For all the latest regarding Opry happenings during CMA Fest, keep an eye on our complete schedule for that week.
2. Be in the know
Some of CMA Fest’s most exciting moments are those that happen spontaneously. You never know when one of your favorite artists might just hold a pop-up performance, but there are several ways to get the inside scoop. The CMA Fest app is an excellent resource for spur-of-the-moment updates; when you download it, you can choose to receive alerts about pop-up performances on your phone.
If you don’t want to miss a surprise appearance by one of your favorite stars, here’s a hack: Turn on mobile Twitter notifications for that artist’s account to receive a tweet seconds after it was sent. What, Keith Urban is about to play a set at a honky-tonk? Cool, catch you there in 10, Keith.
3. Beat the heat
When you’re having fun, it’s easy to forget to stay hydrated. Challenge yourself to carry a reusable water bottle that you can refill whenever you come across a water fountain and take a few big gulps every hour. CMA Fest will have several free water stations available on the lower two blocks of Broadway and others at Riverfront Park and Walk of Fame Park. Empty non-glass water bottles are allowed inside Nissan Stadium and other venues.
When you need to escape the sun for a while, duck into one of the city’s amazing museums, from the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum to the Johnny Cash Museum, and enjoy the AC while learning something new.
4. Pack what you need, leave what you don’t
All official CMA Fest locations are adopting Nissan Stadium’s clear bag policy. Read up on what you can bring to outdoor shows — binoculars, ponchos, and small cameras — and what you can’t — aerosol sunscreen, alcohol, and umbrellas. Click here for a list of regulated items at the Grand Ole Opry House.
5. Experience the Opry
See the show that made country music famous while you’re in Nashville! Enjoy four nights of shows, a free Plaza Party on June 4, tours of the Grand Ole Opry House and Ryman Auditorium, and more.