NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The 2013 CMA Music Festival kicked off Thursday morning in downtown Nashville and tens of thousands of fans from across the world are in town for the event.
Country super-group Lady Antebellum started the event by cutting the ribbon that opened the Fan Fair X exhibit at Music City Center.
The event, where fans have a chance to meet their favorite stars, moved to the new convention center and tripled in size this year.
Dorothy Burgess made the trip from Jacksonville, Florida for her first CMA Music Festival. She waited in line Thursday afternoon to meet artist Justin Moore.
"I'm in love with country music and I'm a little in love with this man, a little bit. But I'm married," Burgess joked.
Burgess was surprised with the access fans had to the stars. She said this is a great opportunity to tell them how their music affects them.
"They're in your head everyday, they're in your car. You're singing, crying, whatever it is that you're doing and they never know. Just to have the opportunity to say that to him and move on, to me, that's incredible," Burgess said.
Many fans carried around guitars and pictures for their favorite artists to sign. Summer Morris made the trip to Nashville from Indiana. Even though it makes her nervous, she said she was trying to get as many autographs as she can.
"My heart starts racing, you don't know what you want to say. It's crazy, it's scary," Morris said.
There are now live performance stages located in the autograph area, giving fans a place to stop and take in some country music.
"Before it was at the convention center and it was a very small space, so you were lucky to get a seat to sit in. This is really nice, comfortable chairs. Nice place to rest," said Loretta Holtz.
Fans spent the day along the Cumberland River listening to live music on the Chevrolet Riverfront Stage. A group of friends traveled in from Cincinnati Thursday morning for the festival. They feel you get a lot of great music, for a great value, this week.
"I don't think it's a lot of money. Up in Cincinnati at Riverbend you pay $100 for one ticket, this is $200 for four days of awesome," said Patti Coffaro.