Whether on land, or by boat, fans rejoice at the return of CMA Fest

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Posted at 4:55 PM, Jun 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-09 19:12:25-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Until you're down in the crowd, it's hard to get a good sense of how big the footprint is for CMA Fest. There are four massive outdoor stages and lots of activities to do in between. That's why — everyone seems to have a different strategy for the best way to enjoy the music.

In the middle of a sea of country music fans was Marion Rucci, who has been anchored near the Chevy Riverfront Stage, for hours.

"My husband and I are here all day for this line up. We love this line up," said Rucci.

Rucci has the sunburns to prove it.

"I know I’m burnt. This is from yesterday. I have 100 and 70 [SPF] on," she said.

They figured, with a lineup this good, why pack up their sails?

"We love supporting CMA Fest. We love it, love it, love it," said Rucci.

But that isn't everyone strategy.

"About an hour outside of Nashville I thought I’m going to see what’s going on. I’m like oh my God there’s the CMA festival going on," said Kate Hewitt, who was traveling through Nashville from her home state of Illinois.

As a first timer, Hewitt found she just couldn't stand still.

"I saw AARP. I thought line dancing," she said. "Well I don’t think I’m good but I do jazzersize."

In the middle of Lower Broadway, Hewitt took part in AARP's line dancing classes.

"They would give clues ahead of time. If you only give clues at the time, you miss it," said Hewitt.

Now that she's hooked, she plans to chart a new course here next year. "They’re fun, it’s just a great atmosphere. Oh my gosh so fun," she said.

But of all the ways you can soak in CMA Fest, Tommy Janes and his friends are happy to trade cramped crowds for a country music cruise.

"We’ve got the back stage of the backstage. VIP on the water. CMA Fest 2020," said Janes. He later corrected himself, blurting out 2022. "The only way to come is by water."

If you ask Janes, it's worth going the extra nautical mile. "Rock Harbor Marina. We boat in about 15 miles up river," he added.

But that's the nice thing about CMA Fest — no matter how you take it in, everyone seems to be thrilled to be along for the ride.

"We are so excited to be back. I can’t even tell you," said Rucci.

CMA Fest runs Thursday through Sunday in downtown Nashville. The four outdoor stages are free to attend. Other concerts at Nissan Stadium and Ascend Amphitheater require a ticket.