NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Business owners in downtown Nashville are excited to finally see the return of CMA Fest.

“It is so exciting,” said Courtney McCormick. “Considering when I first started it was for CMA Fest, and here I am eight years down the road.”  

McCormick first began working for Big Time Boots when she was 15, starting out part-time, strictly covering CMA Fest.  

“It’s almost bittersweet, knowing we haven’t had a CMA Fest the last couple of years,” she said. “This is our first year, and I know the staff is super excited.” 

McCormick, who works as communications coordinator for Big Time Boots, says COVID was rough for the business, but this year things have greatly improved.  

“Since this spring we’ve been doing CMA numbers on normal weekends, and it’s crazy,” she said. “Leading up to this we’re not sure what we’re going to get. Is it going to be like any other weekend since it’s been so crazy or is it going to be like back in the day when it was crazy, crazy?”    

Big Time Boots isn’t the only business excited for the return of CMA Fest.  

Over inside Assembly Food Hall, Tamara Kelly says she’s been gearing up for more people to visit Prince’s Hot Chicken.  

“We’ve been planning working up towards it,” she said. “It’s been a major, major undertaking, but it’s something that’s huge for the food hall, huge for Prince’s and huge for Nashville.”  

Kelly is the general manager at Prince’s and says she has plans to have more staff ready and says restaurants inside the food hall will be staying late to accommodate the CMA Fest crowd.   

“We have some late-night restaurants that will stay open until 2 a.m.,” she said. “So, that will give those goers from the concerts to head over here and have some late-night food and some entertainment to go with it.”

CMA Fest has just begun, but for many of these businesses, it’s the event they are happy to finally welcome back.  

“Some stores have black Friday in the winter, but for us down here on lower Broadway, it’s CMA Fest,” said McCormick. “That’s the holy grail.” 


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.