NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – CMA Fest returns June 9, 2022, and Broadway businesses are looking forward to a big boost.

For almost two years the honky tonk lifestyle was put on pause with the pandemic causing a loss in profits.

Some businesses didn’t make it. Now, owners hope the four day music festival is another step toward recovery.

“As much as it’s a financial boost to the city, it’s a huge boost city wide,” said Barrett Hobbs, bar owner.

Four days and nights of jam-packed music will lead to packed venues and honky tonks.

“Broadway on the weekends, no doubt is fantastic, and we’re doing great. We’re doing great during the daytime,” said Hobbs.

Nashville’s world-famous neon lights will soon meet more fans and more money.

“I’m not sure the bars on Broadway could be doing any better week to week,” said Butch Spyridon, CEO of Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp. (NCVC)

However, Hobbs said they’re a long way to returning to what was Broadway before the pandemic.

“A lot of folks just want to roll down and look at Broadway and say ‘oh look they’re packed on a Friday night so therefore everybody has recovered from Covid.’ And that’s really a false way to look at this,” Hobbs said.

While CMA Fest is expected to help Broadway businesses, there have been other factors impacting profits like staffing levels, supply chain issues and high gas prices.

“We’re still missing our convention business that helps us you know, Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays prior to tourism.” Hobbs continued, “Then it seems like on the weekends we’re trying to force 25 lb. of potatoes into a 5 lb. sack.”

Their sales are inching closer to pre-pandemic levels, but Hobbs wonders what will happen once CMA Fest is over.

“As big as the entertainment district has grown, the pies been cut, so if your overall total revenues are down still in the wintertime that’s when my friends and myself are going to feel the lingering effects of Covid.”

He also admitted, there’s more to be made than just money.

“I think it’s more of an emotional and mental boost as much as it is a financial boost. We’re back; we will be on a worldwide stage,” Hobbs said. “Once again Nashville will be on the forefront of an entertainment destination.”

Spyridon said Nashville will not only benefit from direct visitor spending but also from global public relations this summer. “It’s a good way to get back in the saddle,” he said.

The return of CMA Fest signals a return to normalcy.

“It’s so much more than just a bar on Broadway,” said Hobbs. “CMA Fest spreads far and wide throughout the county and that’s fantastic.”

Around 50,000 out of towners are expected at the four day fest, contributing more than $65,000 in direct visitor spending, according to the NCVC.


CMA Fest is back! News 2 crews are giving you a front row seat to all the action as country artists and fans flood Music City for the first time in two years. Follow our continuing coverage right here on WKRN.com.