(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — The CMA Music Festival was named the 2004 International Entertainment Buyer's Association (IEBA) Festival, Fair or Special Event of the Year at the organization's 34th annual conference on October 12 in Nashville. The award acknowledges a festival, fair or non-tour special event that uses artists as a major element of the event while attracting a large and diverse audience and that has displayed professional organization, management and production.
The presentation took place during a banquet ceremony that also featured special tributes to Florence Henderson, Lifetime Achievement Award-recipient Merle Kilgore and Creative Artists Agency's Ron Baird, who was presented with the Industry Achievement Award from surprise guest Martina McBride. CMA Music Festival Executive Producer Tony Conway (president, Buddy Lee Attractions) and CMA Senior Director of Strategic Marketing Rick Murray were on hand to receive the Festival, Fair or Special Event of the Year Award.
"This is a very important and significant honor for us," offered Conway. "This recognition helps validate our strategic direction to make [CMA Music Festival] a world-class event."
"CMA Music Festival has undergone many changes in recent years," commented CMA Executive Director Ed Benson. "It's reassuring to know that our peers see those changes as progress. The move to Downtown Nashville in 2001 was a big step in making this renowned event a truly world-class, urban-centered festival. And securing a major network television special for CMA Music Festival was another goal that we reached in 2004. This acknowledgement from IEBA is very rewarding."
All festivals in North America were eligible for the IEBA Award nomination. This is the first nomination for CMA Music Festival/Fan Fair in the past five years and its first win. — Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen