CMA Fest – Part 2

I’ve packed up all the mics, sent most of them back to Shure HQ (Thanks Brooke & Richard!) and now it’s time to fill you in on the rest of the week at CMA Music Fest.

Rain!   It always rains during this awesome week of performances.  Does that scare the crowds away?  No, but when lightning is on the horizon, like it or not, it’s time to bail.

The first part of Friday, June 7 was spent over at LP Field watching sound checks with Hunter Hayes and Little Big Town.  Hunter was joined on stage by fellow Shure Artist Jason Mraz to sing a new song.  After their rehearsal, I was able to chat with Jason a bit and catch him up on some new products.  He was particularly interested in my description of the new GLX-D system.  I was thrilled to hear he is working on a new album.

Next up was Little Big Town, who would be joined onstage by another fellow Shure Artist – Sheryl Crow.  Sheryl has been warmly welcomed into the country music scene and it’s great that she spends a lot of time in Nashville.  Little Big Town would stick around for the rest of the week as co-hosts for the TV show which will be broadcast later on.

After LBT finished, I headed across the river to catch a set with long-time friend and Shure Artist Jo Dee Messina.  Halfway across the bridge, I realized that Hunter Hayes had made a trip over as well and was playing a surprise set for the folks at the Riverfront Stage.  I arrived at the barge on which the stage and backstage area sit and went in the green room to say Hi to Jo Dee.   She was a in a great mood, talking about her Kickstarter album project and all the new music she is putting out, some of which she would perform in mere minutes to a great crowd. As Hunter came off stage, sweaty as all get out, I seized the opportunity to grab a shot between these two amazing Shure Artists.

Jo Dee commanded the stage….until….

Fifteen minutes into her set, she was forced to make an announcement that lightning was spotted nearby.  They were forcing her to cut her hour long set short.  Such a bummer! I did get to hook up with a fellow Shure Associate and his wife who have already purchased tickets to next years show!

After waiting out the rain a bit, I returned to LP Field for the evening concerts.  It turned out to be an amazingly comfortable night once the rain moved out.

Saturday brought out Shure Artists Dierks Bentley, Florida Georgia Line, and a surprise performance by Lenny Kravitz.  I grabbed a quick shot with Tyler and Brian of Florida Georgia Line early on before their sound check and Tweeted it out.  They retweeted to over 255,000 of their followers!  Thanks guys!

Sunday was a nice day but unfortunately, sets were cut way short due to approaching weather.  Two Shure Artists:  Brad Paisley and The Band Perry got to perform 2 songs while Gary Allan was able to sneak in his whole set before them.  As I was leaving that evening, they were cutting the final artists down to one song.

I was glad to be on the road a bit early and beat the bad weather home.   I had a fantastic weekend hanging with the artists and all of their awesome crews.  I’m already looking forward to next year!

Ryan Smith

Ryan is a Regional Manager of Artist Relations at the Shure office in Nashville, TN. He started at Shure in 1993 in Customer Service and joined the AR team in 1996. Ryan has over 30 years of performance experience playing drums and percussion in various groups and genres. In his spare time he enjoys woodworking, watching movies, videography, and camping with his family. His Twitter handle is @ryan_smith1969.

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