Monday, June 10, 2013

The 50 Things We Loved (or didn't) About the 2013 'CMA Music Festival'

By Chuck Whiting and Wil Comstock

            Every year, Nashville draws thousands of country music fans for the annual "CMA Music Festival". MCAU editor Chuck Whiting and contributing writer Wil Comstock roamed downtown Nashville all four days (June 6-9, 2013) to take in the many country-accented events. Here's our list of the top 50 things we loved (or didn't).

            * All-you-can-eat ice cream at the Blue Bell booth.

            * The creative tattoos on the necks, arms, backs, chests and legs of festival-goers.

            * All-you-can-drink diet Mountain Dew.

            * Sore legs after walking miles and miles (from the newly opened Music City Center to Broadway to LP Field).

            * Beautiful views (and the echoes of live music) from the pedestrian bridge.

            * The roaming black Elvis dressed in a spectacular white (bell-bottomed) outfit.

            * Dolly Parton's creative (eye-opening) array of costumes (in the exhibit area).

            * Trace Adkins' 2006 palace on wheels (tour bus).

            * Charlie Daniel's mega-sized, spotlight-reflecting belt buckle.

            * The loud, girlish screams when Luke Bryan wiggled his hips.

            * The Oak Ridge Boys' moving (harmonious) tribute to the late George Jones.

            * Surprise guests Lenny Kravitz and Jason Aldean rocking out on the LP Field Stage (to somewhat bewildered die-hard country music fans). (But we loved it!)

            * Clydesdale horses and Pedigree dogs.

            *  Tim McGraw, Keith Urban and Taylor Swift singing McGraw's hit, "Highway Don't Care".

            *  Kelly Clarkson expressing concern (several times) about her missing engagement ring.

            * The high-pitched screams, yells and whistles when Gretchen Wilson asked if there were any rednecks in the audience.

            * A stirring rendition of the "National Anthem" by Pam Tillis and Lorrie Morgan.

            * Keith Urban's passionate ("electrifying") guitar playing.

            * Taylor Swift's red microphone, red guitar, red lipstick... red... red... red.

            * Dierks Bentley's authentic, gracious nature (to an adoring crowd).

            * Kelly Clarkson and Trisha Yearwood harmonizing (very quickly) on "Ain't Going Down ('Til The Sun Comes Up)".

            * $4 water... $8 mini-pizza... $8 beer...

            * Sweat (but less than last year).

            * "Duck Dynasty" family antics.

            * The whiskey tasting at Aerial on the roof of Paradise Park Trailer Resort (especially Popcorn Sutton’s Tennessee White Whiskey with lemonade).

            * Paying $20 to park (or not!).

            * Not wanting to like the "Wabash Cannonball" sculpture while having a beer at the Bridge Building Event Center (best place on the water in Nashville... other than on a boat!)

            * Seeing Gretchen Wilson on the Riverfront Stage singing “Hot Blooded”.

            * Carrie Underwood’s legs... Carrie Underwood’s legs... Carrie Underwood’s legs!

            * Free spicy sausage from History Cross Country Cookout.

            * Having to use the port-o-john (or sitting next to someone who needed to).

            * Gretchen Wilson "not" singing one of her killer smoldering ballads.

            * Missing Lee Brice’s concert at Carl Black Chevrolet on Tuesday afternoon... and Collin Raye, Bryan White and Mark Wills' performances at the Durango Music Spot on Saturday. (We couldn't be everywhere... but wanted to be.)

            * Taking in the short-shorts, bikini tops and cowboy boots.

            * The rain (and humidity).

            * Free spicy BBQ from the Diet Mountain Dew Pit Stop.

             * The very-friendly (smiling) ushers at LP Field.

            * Blake Shelton tearing up the stadium with “Footloose”.

            * The welcoming crew at the CMA Media area (especially Courtney!).

             * Kicking a plastic cup (with hundreds of other fans) on the Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge after the last concert. (We kicked that cup all the way across.)

            * Jo Dee Messina’s dress (?). (She explained it by saying she was wearing shorts underneath.)

             * The talented Hunter Hayes (Who knew?). (We loved his duet with Jason Mraz.)

              * Who knew The Band Perry could rock out like they did?  (They get our vote for "best performance".)

            * That Wil didn’t win a tumbler at the Bic Flamedisk booth (but Chuck "did").

             * Everyone singing “God Bless The USA” with Lee Greenwood.

             * Operation Finally Home presenting free (custom-built) homes to two needy military families. (Wil: I had tears in my eyes... One of those families will be living in Williamson County. Way to go!).

             * Seeing Julie Roberts and remembering just how good her blues-country vocals are!

             * Sheryl Crow dropping in on Little Big Town’s set. (She's 51... Really?)

             * Lorrie Morgan’s dress... Lorrie Morgan’s dress... Lorrie Morgan’s dress!

            * Running into friends on Broadway.

             * Seeing Randy Travis all cleaned up, wearing clothes, and in great voice.

             * Gloriana’s perfect harmonies on the "National Anthem".  (It never sounded better.)

            * Kip Moore. (Wil: I don't stand a chance when he's around.)

             * Carrie Underwood’s performance of “Paradise City”.

             * Seeing Brad Paisley perform “Beat This Summer With You” (this year’s best summer song) while the audience participated using Brad’s colorful phone app.

             * Jake Owen singing “Anywhere With You”. (Wil: We're disappointed that he only got to do one song. Couldn’t he have done one more with an acoustic guitar while they were setting up for Carrie Underwood?).

             * The near-perfect weather.

            * That Alan, Reba and Garth were not there. (Thank goodness Trisha was.)

            * That it didn't rain until well after the closing fireworks (making us wonder if shortening the concert sets on the last night was really necessary).

            * That we didn't win two tickets to next year's "CMA Music Festival". (We're going anyway!).

(Note: As you can see, we couldn't stop at just 50. What are the things you loved (or didn't) about the 2013 "Country Music Festival". Feel free to share them with MCAU here or by writing us

All "CMA Music Festival" Photos copyright 2013 by Chuck Whiting 
(except for the port-o-john pic by Wil Comstock)

This article reprinted/used by permission only


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