NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Downtown businesses in Music City are missing out this year on Nashville’s biggest annual tourism event, CMA Music Festival.
It’s been hard for the industry already trying to make it to the other side of COVID-19. Places like Trail West Boots Broadway would usually be packed with tourists from all over the world.
“During CMA festival we will have just a constant flow of customers in and out throughout the day,” Francisco Andrade, assistant manager of the store told News 2.
However, this year Andrade said he hasn’t seen any visitors from outside of the United States.
“We’ve never seen Nashville like this before,” proclaimed Sheila Osborne who was visiting from Indiana.
Trail West Group which has three boot stores in downtown Nashville, typically sells around 1,000 boots a day during the music fest but this year they are lucky to ring up around 50.
“Obviously we feel the difference,” said Andrade.
The stores were first closed for COVID-19 for months, then one of their stores was hit by looters.
“We had some broken glass on the door, we had some theft, they grabbed a few items. They tried to set a few things on fire luckily for us they weren’t able to. Since then we quickly recovered and were able to patch everything up to get back open,” explained Andrade.
Business has been slow, but he add they are steadily picking back up.
“It was very eerie. It almost felt like our slowest season in January and February, but it’s been steady for the amount of business we have it’s been steady.”
Now, the popular boot stores are missing out on the busiest time of the year, CMA Music Festival. The music festival generated a record $65 million in direct visitor spending in 2019. The highest of any annual tourism event held in Music City.
“I’m just hoping these people can still make it,” stated Osborne.
However, this holiday weekend brings another hit to downtown businesses.
“July 4 always brings, it’s like a second leg of CMA. I know the fireworks are still going to go on, but there won’t be the traffic here,” said Andrade.
The CMAs are hosting a live streaming event Wednesday night, “CMA Summer Stay-Cay.” They will also be broadcasting the CMA’s “Best of Fest” on News 2, Monday, July 13.
Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.