CMA Fest Could Leave Nashville...For Dallas?

Brooks & Dunn ain't nothin' to f*ck with.

There's an argument to be made that Dallas should have been the country music capital of the world ahead of Nashville--hell, the in-place economic infrastructure is alone enough of a compelling case. But, alas, things happened and Nashville got Dallas' number there. Well, for the time being, at least.

One very major entity of Nashville's could be coming up for grabs in the near future: The CMA Music Festival. And it could possibly be heading our way.

(See how and why after the jump.)

The festival, once upon a time called "Fan Fair," brings the biggest names in country music together for a four-day festival of honky tonk songs and pointed tales of broken hearts. More importantly, it's been held in Nashville since its inception.

Kix Brooks (of Brooks and Dunn fame), former president of the Country Music Association, says that might need to change in the near future. Nashville officials are refusing to pay artists for playing the fest, arguing that the chance mingle with fans and appear on ABC's two-hour prime-time special about the event is worth an appearance. Brooks, however, argues that that offer won't cut it any more, as artists are actually losing money--up to $500,000, possibly--just to appear at the event.

Long story short: If the two sides don't come to an agreement, CMA Fest could move to Dallas. Or so says this report from ABC-affiliated WKRN in Nashville.

"At least two cities, Dallas and Atlanta, have expressed interest in the festival and both would pay the artists.

Randy Goodman, CMA President, said, 'There may be opportunities that say maybe we bid this out, Maybe Atlanta wants the music fest. Maybe Dallas wants the music fest.'"

(Tough to say how seriously Dallas has "expressed interest" based on Goodman's quote...)

Mostly this whole thing's a bunch of posturing at this point--a lot of threatening, very little action. Still, if you follow the link and watch the two stories this station has been running about this "ordeal", you'll see just how seriously Nashville's commerce folks are taking it, arguing on behalf of paying the artists.

Odds this festival leaves Nashville: 20 to 1. Odds it comes here (at this point): 50 to 1.

But it would be a nice little get. -- Pete Freedman

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