For lack of familiarity in the world of critics, I would hope to inform you of a full proof review of CMA Fest, but seeing as that is foreign to me I shall provide you with my hopelessly accurate experience.
To begin our journey through this four-day long event of food, music, and my favorite- some serious people watching, we can start at the initial shock of this unruly event.
As I trudged into the masses of people after a three-hour car ride from Knoxville, the sight of what some might consider a true "Tennessean" flustered me. There were cowboy hats ranging in height/width, boots in all the colors of the rainbow, and painfully tacky shirts with graphic designs you could not begin to dream up pasted across every fraction of fabric. Although comically worn by locals, these trademarks were bought and sold consistently throughout the week by the immense amount of tourists in overalls and flannels wandering Broadway Street.
One may choose to go join these newly-emerging Nashvillians early in the day to enjoy free live music on the riverfront, foot-long corn dogs, and outrageously overpriced water bottles, which I highly suggest as part of the experience. If the decision is made not to attend the day portion, then next comes the tailgating. This occurs for hours on end outside the concert arena, where girls flock to take cute pictures with their favorite group of friends and boys socialize to kill time.
After one makes it past the montage of lifted trucks and rather inebriated people in the parking lot, then comes the big event, if you've lasted that long.
Whether on the floor level with a perfect scene of the stage or in the nosebleeds with a breathtaking view of the city, LP Field was the ideal place for the insanity it awaited.
No matter what your taste in music may be, CMA fest was, to my dismay, rather diverse. If you are into watching someone practically throw their neck out while telling you about all her past relationships via song then Tswift is your girl, or on the other hand you could hear Lenny Kravitz perform a rather large segment of music as a guest appearance
in which not many people understood why he was there, and if neither of those suit your fancy then Kelly Clarkson, who was never country before, might win you over with her new image of boots and bowties. Or in her case, maybe a less classy version.
This booming metropolis of Nashville holds what is said to be an extra 250,000 people when this event rolls around in the Titans stadium and Nashville greatly profits from CMA fest, although the pollution does increase in all the various fields over town.
Once the five hours of eardrum-shattering booms from instruments and fireworks have finally come to an end, the trek down from the pinnacle of the stadium must begin. This is the place where catching the elevator seems like a gift from God, and if you don't you might as well hope to make it down in an hour on a good night.
After a long occasion of swing dancing and making new friends, walking the stadium ramps is exhausting and a car sounds so good, but the one thing that stands between you and your car is the half-mile bridge to cross the river. Having wished I had parked on the opposite side, I made the treacherous hike to the light at the end of the tunnel.
The night, and my weekend, ended as one might expect in the land known as Music City: a crowd 3,000 strong strolled across the bridge, singing "I've Got Friends in Low Places" at their top of their exhausted lungs.
With sore feet, a bit of a headache and more pictures than I know what to do with, I was left with a shaky video of that moment to capture the CMA fest in all its Nashville glory.
How long til next year?
Annie Blackwood is a rising junior in communication studies. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.