Chris Young Kicks Off CMA Fest

Posted at 7:15 AM, Jun 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-08 19:45:54-04

Country Music artist and Murfreesboro native Chris Young helped kick off the start of the 2016 CMA Music Festival with a concert at Ascend Amphitheater.  

Opening ceremonies, also featuring Mayor Megan Barry, the Fisk Jubilee Singers and students from Metro Nashville Public Schools, got underway at 11 a.m. 

The show marked the first time the new venue was featured during the annual festival.

"I have been going to the CMA Fest for as long as I can remember, it's something I have always done with my family and I've been coming here as a fan for a long time," Young said. 

For fans who attended the free event shade was sacred.

"Trying to keep from getting burned," said Ian Hammond who came with his girlfriend to watch the opening ceremonies.

"You can’t beat it. You’re in a park. Great artists coming up here. People up here enjoying it. It’s hard to beat, hard to beat," he added.

City officials expect the more than 87,000 visitors traveling to Nashville this weekend to spend upwards of $60 million. 

Several other free shows at Ascend Amphitheater have been scheduled throughout the day. Here's a look at the lineup:  

The evening will wrap up with the CMT Music Awards, as all of Country Music’s biggest stars pack Bridgestone Arena. Fans began gathering early in hopes of getting a wristband to the show. 

Among Tuesday’s highlights was the City of Hope Celebrity Softball Game at First Tennessee Park. Over the years, the event has raised more than $2 million.

More street closures, including some on Broadway and Demonbreun Street, went into effect at 6 a.m. More: Street Closures Announced For CMA Music Festival

For more information on CMA Fest, you can visit their website.