NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Tens of thousands of country music fans from all over the world will descend on downtown Nashville with CMA Fest officially kicking off Thursday.

CMA Fest’s 50th year is promising to be its biggest yet, and there are still some downtown hotel rooms available that won’t break the bank.

“We were afraid it was going to be high because we knew about fan fair. We had a budget for $150 a night and didn’t have a problem finding it sort of within walking distance of everything we wanted to do,” said Doug Williams, who is visiting from South Carolina.

It’s a much different tune than what we saw during Taylor Swift’s concert weekend in May, when hotels in the downtown core were sold out and ranging from $700-$1,000 a night.

“If you are seeing the prices, they are in the ($200-$500) range. I don’t remember when that was ever considered reasonable, but anyway, times have changed certainly,” President/CEO of The Greater Nashville Hospitality Association Leesa LeClaire said laughing.

She doesn’t believe the numbers are a reflection of anticipated attendance for this year’s CMA Fest, saying hotel rooms are still about 95% full.

“I really think it’s the combination of, it’s that set number of CMA seats that are available and sold, and then the additional supply that has opened since last year.”

LeClaire said there are 1,134 new rooms in inventory this year in the downtown core compared to this time last year.

“So there is more supply, and I think it’s getting absorbed when we have big events and multiple events in the city,” she explained. 

According to LeClaire, this year’s hotel occupancy pacing looks similar to last year when CMA Fest broke a record, marking the city’s best-ever month for hotel room sales.

“I would say it’s very possible that we will do it again. We’ve been doing it on a monthly basis since coming out of the pandemic. You know, I think it’s good for the city; I think it’s good for people; I think that makes everybody feel better about the economy and where we are here in Nashville. I love the activity in the city. I think we couldn’t be in a better place.”

CMA officials said they have fans coming from all 50 states and from 42 countries. There are still some four-night CMA Fest passes available, but they are expected to sell out.