NASHVILLE, TN (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — The CMA Music Festival has seemed like another festival success story, featuring strong attendance, diverse and top-tier artist participation and solid economic benefits for the city of Nashville, but Kix Brooks tells a different tale.
According to the Tennessean, Brooks recently warned Nashville business leaders that unless there is a financial incentive for artists, the festival is little more than a "house of cards."
I feel like we're at a serious crossroads with this festival," Brooks told the business community during a breakfast address. "We have a danger, in my opinion."
The festival has become a huge success over the years with the city pulling in roughly $21 million from the event last year. Local businesses thrive, even local schools get 600,000 cut – everyone that is, except for the artists says Brooks.
"You can play to artists' emotions by saying, 'Hey, this is for the fans,' " Brooks said. "But it's not like it's a free concert. We've built a really nice piece of business here that is dependent on free talent. It needs to be an economic model instead of a volunteer model. The label heads can only go and beg these artists to do this so many times."
The CMA has expressed a strong interest in keeping the festival in Nashville and has expressed a willingness to discuss pay for participating artists.
CMA Chief Operating Officer Tammy Genovese told the Tennessean that "We've been having conversations with our board and with Butch Spyridon [president, Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau] about potential growth: Do we bring in performers from other genres, to make the event bigger? Do we need to pay the artists at some point? If we do need to pay the artists, I believe Butch would be right there with us." – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers