Nashville, Tennessee businesses ready for CMA Fest boost

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WKRN) – CMA Fest returns on June 9, 2022, and Broadway companies are looking forward to a big resurgence.

For nearly two years, the honky-tonk lifestyle has been on hiatus as the pandemic resulted in lost profits.

Some companies didn’t make it. Now the owners hope the four-day music festival is another step towards recovery.

“As much as it’s a financial boost for the city, it’s a tremendous boost for the entire city,” said Barrett Hobbs, bar owner.

Four days and nights of packed music will result in packed venues and honky tonks.

“Broadway on the weekends is undoubtedly fantastic and we’re doing great. We’re fine during the day,” Hobbs said.

Nashville’s world famous neon lights will soon find more fans and more money.

“I’m not sure Broadway bars could do any better week in week out,” said Butch Spyridon, CEO of Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp. (NCVC).

However, Hobbs said they still have a long way to go back to what Broadway was before the pandemic.

“A lot of people just want to roll down and look at Broadway and be like, ‘Oh look, they’re packed on a Friday night so everyone’s recovered from Covid.’ And that’s really a misconception,” Hobbs said.

While the CMA Fest is designed to help Broadway businesses, there were other factors impacting profits, such as headcount, supply chain issues and high gas prices.

“We’re still missing our convention business, which helps us know Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday ahead of tourism.” Hobbs continued, “Then it seems like on the weekends we’re trying to force 25 pounds of potatoes into a 5 pound sack.”

Her sales are nearing pre-pandemic levels, but Hobbs wonders what will happen when CMA Fest is over.

“As big as the entertainment district has gotten, the cakes have been cut. So if your overall earnings are still falling over the winter, my friends and I will feel the lingering effects of Covid.”

He also admitted that there is more to making than just money.

“I think it’s more of an emotional and mental boost than a financial boost. We are back; we’re going to be on a global stage,” Hobbs said. “Once again, Nashville will be at the forefront of entertainment destination.”

Spyridon said Nashville will benefit not only from direct visitor spending but also from global outreach this summer. “It’s a good way to get back in the saddle,” he said.

The return of CMA Fest signals a return to normalcy.

“It’s so much more than just a bar on Broadway,” Hobbs said. “The CMA Fest is spreading far and wide across the country, and that’s fantastic.”

Around 50,000 city residents are expected to attend the four-day festival, which contributes more than $65,000 in direct visitor spending, according to the NCVC.

The CMA Fest is back! News 2 shows you what changes to expect and why this year could be bigger than ever. Follow our Coverage continues right here on Nashville, Tennessee businesses ready for CMA Fest boost

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