CMA Fest, the annual, multi-day music festival in downtown Nashville organized by the Country Music Association, will not take place in 2021. The CMA announced the news on Tuesday (March 2), citing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as the reason for the cancellation of the event for the second year in a row.
The CMA shared the cancellation of CMA Fest 2021 in both a public statement and a letter to members. The former explains that “thoughtful deliberation” went into the situation, while the latter notes that the organization is “deeply disappointed” to have to cancel the festival again.
“We know our fans near and far have hoped that the festival could safely return this summer, and while we are encouraged to see COVID-19 vaccines becoming more widely available, we still face several challenges that prevent us from bringing our fans around the world the CMA Fest experience they have come to expect,” explains the public statement. The letter to members expands on those obstacles — CMA Fest’s expansive footprint, which covers multiple venues and stages throughout downtown Music City; capacity restrictions; and concerns about artists, fans and other industry members traveling into Nashville for the event — noting that they also affect the artists and their crew members.
“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,” the note to members says. “Given the length of our production window, it was simply impossible to find an available window later this summer or into the fall.”
The CMA is hoping to hold the next CMA Fest on June 9-12, 2022, and has already started planning for both that event and CMA Fest’s 50th anniversary festival in 2023. Fans can either hold onto their four-day passes for CMA Fest 2020 for use in 2022 or request a refund; CMAFest.com has all the details.
The cancellation of CMA Fest in 2020 marked the first time in the festival’s history that the event — originally known as Fan Fair — did not take place.