NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — CMA Fest’s 50th year is promising to be its biggest yet!

For those attending the festival for the first time, here are some important things you need to know before descending upon downtown Nashville.

Festival footprint

There are more than five different stages on one side of the Cumberland River, with the Nissan Stadium stage located across the river. The festival footprint extends from 8th Avenue South toward the river between Korean Veterans Boulevard and Church Street.

The southwest corner of the festival is where you’ll find the Fan Fair, CMA Close Up and CMA Spotlight stage, located in the Music City Center. Over in the southeast corner lies Ascend Amphitheater and the Amp stage at Ascend Park. The northernmost stages are the Hard Rock stage and Riverfront stage, just off Broadway.

Vendors and merchandise

CMA Fest vendors and venues are all cashless, so don’t forget to pack your credit or debit cards or set up Apply Pay/Google Pay on your phone in order to buy plenty of food, drinks and merchandise from the Fest. Official CMA Fest merchandise is available online HERE or you can buy it at multiple locations during the festival. One location for official merch is inside the Fan Fair in the Music City Center.

Will I need a clear bag?

Yes. Clear bags are required at all CMA Fest venues and stages. They must be clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and cannot exceed 12″ x 12″ x 6″ in size.

In addition to clear bags, a small clutch bag or wallet measuring no more than 6.5″ x 4.5″ will also be allowed.

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Exceptions will be made for medically necessary items. All bags are subject to inspection upon entrance to the festival.

Prohibited items

In addition to non-clear bags, other items to leave at home or your hotel include inflatables, cameras with detachable lenses/selfie sticks, chairs, coolers, drones, firearms and weapons, flags, outside food and beverages and umbrellas.

Also prohibited are any balls, Confederate flag imagery of any kind, fireworks, flags, flyers and promotional items, hydration packs, seat cushions, any signs on poles or sticks, squirt guns, wagons or pull-carts and noisemakers of any kind.

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What to bring

While you can’t bring outside food or beverages into the festival, something you can bring is a refillable water bottle. Water stations will be set up throughout the festival areas and stages for attendees to keep hydrated during the hot summer days.

But you’ll also want to bring some other items with you to make sure you have the best experience possible:

  • Phone chargers or external batteries – don’t forget the cords!
  • Sunglasses and plenty of sunscreen
  • Comfortable shoes – don’t choose this weekend to break in those brand new cowboy boots!
  • A rain jacket or emergency poncho
  • Photo ID for alcohol purchases (21+ only!) and a debit/credit card for merch and food purchases


The good thing about being located in downtown Nashville is the festival is walkable. All the stages and activities are easy to navigate once you’re inside, but getting to the festival could prove trickier since there are multiple road closures around downtown Nashville.

Luckily, four-day parking passes are available on Ticketmaster for $129.95. Parking lots at Nissan Stadium open at 9 a.m. each morning and allow one exit and re-entry before 4 p.m. Vehicles must be cleared out two hours after the show ends each night, however.

Guests with disabilities also have the option of purchasing accessible parking spaces located in Parking Lot A on a first-come, first-serve basis. Call 1-800-262-3378 for more information.

Weather shelters

The forecast for CMA Fest looks great, with temperatures in the mid- to high 80s and plenty of sunshine. But there is also a threat of storms on Sunday night, so CMA Fest has several locations available for sheltering if needed.

  • Music City Center Garage (6th Avenue between Demonbreun and Korean Veterans Boulevard)
  • Music City Center (during operational hours only; 201 Rep. John Lewis Way)
  • Bridgestone Arena (501 Broadway)
  • Hilton Hotel Underground Parking Garage (121 4th Ave. S)
  • 222 Garage (222 1st Ave. S)

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If you are unable to get to one of these locations, proceed to the nearest business for cover. At Nissan Stadium, instructions on where to shelter will be provided. The same thing goes for Ascend Amphitheater.

Above all, CMA Fest encourages all attendees to download the CMA Connect App, which will serve as a one-stop shop for all things CMA Fest. Fans can access a full schedule of events and all the lineups, see the full festival maps, purchase officials merch and listen to official playlists and even with free stuff with CMA Fan Access.

The app can be downloaded for free from either the Apple App or Google Play stores.