Hello Taylor Nation,
Here at the Swift Agency, one guy who’s tired, broke and annoyingly happy, have to say it’s been a while since I’ve had a vacation that has been this fun. I have a lot of people to thank for that, but one thing we all had in common was the location: Nashville, Tennessee. The Music City has a lot going for it, and the best time to visit it is during the CMA Fest. That being said, get there a few days earlier and enjoy everything the city has to offer before you get caught up in the craziness.
Once again, a little disclaimer for you. I am not an expert. I took some decisions that caused me to miss certain events. Then again, I preferred to pace myself just a bit during the festival. For instance, I didn’t really went into the whole meet & greet ticket snatching at the convention center until the last days, and missed quite a few big names. I did get to meet some artists, and even if you don’t you can just hang around and take their picture when they come meet the lucky ticket holders.
Do every concert night at the LP Field. There was always someone big playing. The stage at the Riverfront is a mix of upcoming artists and a few known performers, so it’s your choice. I’d say pick one or two that strikes your fancy and listen to them. Close to the CMA Fest there are concerts at the Ryman Auditorium and the Grand Ole Opry. They’re not part of the festival, so you must buy tickets separately. Depending on your wallet you could buy a concert on one or both, or just take the tour to know the history of both places. I didn’t and by the time the CMA Fest rolled in I couldn’t visit either.
Make sure you have a camera and a phone. There are contests run by CMT all throughout the week and you can get some pretty sweet tickets for other stuff. On most cameras you can have an extra battery. On smartphones, it varies but for some smartphones there are cases with additional battery life. Don’t run out of juice, make sure you have somewhere to charge your stuff before the nightly concerts at the LP field.
I opted to get a hotel downtown, they’re usually more expensive AND they ran out of rooms quick. Use one of those sites where you get a hotel, flight and rental car package deals. There’s a satellite shuttle service that will drive you from some of the hotels outside the downtown area so you don’t need to pay for parking at LP Field. If you do park at LP Field, you can use the shuttle (or just walk across the bridges) so you enjoy downtown based on one parking solution.
Before the CMA Fest, if you’re a Taylor fan (actually if you are not, I’m not sure what you are doing here…) you should visit a few of the places that you’ve heard from Taylor and the Agency such as the Fido coffee shop, the Pancake Pantry (there will be a line outside), Cafe Coco, Cracker Barrel, City House, Bricktop’s, The Frothy Monkey, Sweet CeCe’s, Burger Up, etc. They might not all be your cup of tea, so keep an open mind or find reviews on the net. Both Fido, Sweet CeCe’s and the Pancake Pantry are on Hillsboro Village which is an area that Taylor loves.
Personally, I also enjoyed Broadway street. It’s a strip of country bars and restaurants that can get pretty loud, so it depends on your taste. Some restaurants are actually quiet. Visit Diana’s and make sure you get dessert. It’s an old fashioned soda shop. Also, Robert’s Western World serves a mean burger and live traditional country music. I’d also recommend Puckett’s which serves traditional southern cooking and has live music playing on certain evenings.
If you visit in June, it gets hot. Forget elegance and go with comfort. Carry water, carry a fan, stay in the shade.
Most important, enjoy yourself. If you just missed the artist you wanted to see, listen to what else is playing. If you can’t get a ticket to meet your favorite star, try meeting some of the starting artists at the convention center. The prices at the LP Field can be high so see if you catch a meal somewhere earlier before going there (they will not allow you to bring food or even water in). A lot of new artists showcase their music during the festival, so have a listen. Perhaps you’ll be meeting the next big country star of tomorrow.
By no means is this a complete guide, but I hope these posts have sparked your curiosity about the Music City.
Coming up in the Calendar:
- June 14: Speak Now tour in St. Paul, Minnesota at Xcel Energy Center. Sold Out.
- June 15: Speak Now tour in St. Paul, Minnesota at Xcel Energy Center. Sold Out.
- June 18: Speak Now tour in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at Heinz Field. Click here for ticket info.
- June 21: Speak Now tour in Buffalo, New York at HSBC Arena. Sold Out.