CMA Fest Cancelled for 2021, Dates for 2022 Announced

This is terrible news for country music fans.

Written by Lauren Laffer
CMA Fest Cancelled for 2021, Dates for 2022 Announced
Luke Bryan performs at Nissan Stadium on Sunday, June 9 during the 2019 CMA Music Festival in downtown Nashville.

Country music fans will have to wait another year for their annual pilgrimage to Nashville, TN for the annual CMA Fest. The Country Music Association revealed on Tuesday (3/2) that the festival would not return in June 2021.

In a statement sent to CMA members from CMA Chief Executive Officer Sarah Trahern, it was revealed that the COVID-19 pandemic has put plans for this year’s festival to the back burner.

“This afternoon, we will share the news that after much deliberation, CMA Fest unfortunately will not take place in 2021. We are deeply disappointed that yet another summer will pass without seeing so many of you who help bring Country Music to our fans around the world,” Trahern’s statement read. “While we are optimistic with the pace at which COVID-19 vaccines are becoming more widely available, we still face several challenges that prevent us from bringing our many artists, crew members and fans together safely for the full CMA Fest experience we know everyone has come to expect. I would like to explain some of these challenges with you.

“Unlike many other music festivals that take place from a single location, CMA Fest has a rather large footprint that spans across the entire downtown Nashville area, including Nissan Stadium, Ascend Amphitheater and Music City Center. We know that many of our performers and attendees will ask why we cannot reschedule our event to take place later in 2021, however, to produce CMA Fest at the scale we normally do requires a significant amount of advance planning and production. Given the length of our production window, it was simply impossible to find an available window later this summer or into the fall.

“Additional challenges we face this year are capacity restrictions, not only with brick and mortar venues but at many of our outdoor locations,” it continued. “We are incredibly grateful that the majority of those who purchased four-day passes for CMA Fest 2020 have made the decision to hold onto their seats for the nightly concerts at Nissan Stadium. The last thing we want to do is make a decision that leaves any of our loyal attendees in the dark due to capacity restraints.

“We also took into account travel concerns. In addition to welcoming visitors from all 50 states, 10 percent of 2019 CMA Fest attendees traveled to Nashville from more than 37 foreign countries. With domestic and international travel still significantly impacted, we did not want to disappoint our many participants around the globe.”

The note also revealed that while the 2021 festival would not go on as planned, the CMA is already looking forward to next year’s festival, scheduling it for June 9-12. The association is also looking towards the 2023 festival as it will mark the 50th anniversary of CMA Fest.

During the interim, the CMA continues its Music Indutry COVID Support (MICS) initiative to help provide resources for music professionals who have been affected by the ongoing pandemic. The CMA has partnered with several nonprofit organizations including Music Health Alliance, Musically Fed, MusiCares, Notes for Notes, Porter’s Call, The Store and Touring Professionals Alliance Kitchen, with additional partnerships to be announced soon.

Tickets purchase for the 2020 CMA Fest will be rolled over to 2022, with options for refunds available.