CMA Music Festival Raises Millions For Music Education

Posted at 4:11 PM, Jun 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-13 21:06:01-04

When Country music's biggest acts take the stage at CMA Music Festival every year, they not doing it for the money, they're doing it to play for their biggest fans, and to raise money for music education. 

"They get paid absolutely nothing to be on our festival footprint," Tiffany Kerns, CMA senior manager of community outreach, said. 

CMA Music Festival raises about $3 million each year for the CMA Foundation, so once the music stops, the work to help children in classrooms begins.

"For the next 361 days, we will make sure that we are giving students quality access to music education," Kerns said. 

The money is raised each year through ticket sales for Fan Fair X and through selling tickets to the evening shows of CMA Music Festival at Nissan Stadium.

Those who work in schools that benefit from the CMA Foundation's support say they're the envy of other schools.

"I have friends across the country that ask, 'How'd you get this, how'd you get that?'" Franklin Willis, a music teacher with Metro Nashville Public Schools, said. 

Willis attributed many of the instruments, special education tools, and other resources directly to the support received by the CMA Foundation. 

That support has allowed him to teach his students about music, and about life.

"I like to tell my kids, we're working on music, but I like to also work on you as a person," Willis explained. 

Willis is a product of Metro Nashville Public Schools himself, and he said he knows music education does more than help someone be musical, it helps their confidence in life.

"When you see them (students) get on that stage and the light bulb comes on, and you see them stand up and their chest is out, you can't beat that feeling," Willis said. 

To show their appreciation, children who benefited from the money raised at CMA Music Festival wrote letters to the artists, so each artist that performs could go home with a personalized note.

The 2016 CMA Music Festival was estimated to raise approximately $3 million for the CMA Foundation, and about $1 million of that to stay in the Nashville area. 

For more information on the CMA Foundation, click here.