Jun 5, 2024 - Music

A look at country stars at CMA Fests from the past

Tanya Tucker

Tanya Tucker performs at Fan Fair in 1987. Photo: Beth Gwinn/Getty Images

CMA Fest launched as a way for country music fans to meet their favorite stars, but it has evolved into a downtown tourism colossus.

  • From its humble beginnings at the fairgrounds as Fan Fair to its current iteration as a massive concert spectacular at Nissan Stadium, we're looking back at CMA Fest through the years.

Billy Ray Cyrus
Billy Ray Cyrus sweats onstage in 1992. Photo: Laura Levine/Corbis via Getty Images
Brad Paisley
Brad Paisley shreds on guitar in 2002. Photo: Rusty Russell/Getty Images
Garth Brooks and George Jones
Garth Brooks and George Jones backstage in 1991. Photo: Beth Gwinn/Getty Images
Martina McBride
Martina McBride in 2002. Photo: Rusty Russell/Getty Images
Taylor Swift
Ascending singer-songwriter Taylor Swift in 2007. Photo: Rusty Russell/Getty Images

Tell us: Email [email protected] to let us know your favorite CMA Fest memories. Or do you celebrate each year by avoiding the festival altogether?

💭 Adam's thought bubble: Growing up in Nashville, I was always excited by the events going on at the fringes of the festival. Attending Trisha Yearwood's 2006 fan club party was a teenage dream come true.

  • WPLN's Jewly Hight wrote a fascinating story about the legacy of fan club parties at CMA Fest, which offered face time with the biggest stars of the day.
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