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    No Evidence of Recession at this year’s CMA awards; spending reaches 30 million

    Country music fans who attended the four-day CMA festival event spent a record $30 million dollars this year, shattering the spending records made in the past.  65,000 avid fans were in town for the event, and had no problem shelling out copious amounts of cash to enjoy the festival’s offerings.  Nashville hotels booked an estimated 110,000 nights in hotel rooms, the most ever booked. Hotel room rates during the festival averaged about $137 per night, a significant increase from typical rates which run around $90, Smith Travel Research found.

    According to the Tennessean, the record numbers were seen across every economic indicator, including crowd size, ticket sales and festival growth.  Direct spending at the festival increased $1 million each year from 2007 to 2010, but swelled this year by $6 million, a product of “larger crowds drawn by expanded free events and a more expansive roster of artists,” said Molly Suddereth, spokeswoman for the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau. More than 440 artists and celebrities attended Fan Fair Hall this year, nearly doubling last year’s number.  The sudden surge in attention and spending shows the quality of the event itself and the numerous activities it had to offer.  Butch Spyridon, president of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau said, “It was a huge win for the city and a great way to celebrate the event’s 40th anniversary.” As many know, the CMA has donated one half of all festival proceeds to charity.  After Nashville’s devastating flood last May, the association dedicated all of its $2.9 million earnings to music education and flood aid and relief.

    Organizers of the festival are still calculating this year’s total earnings, but officials predict the earnings to be great.  This year, half of the proceeds will go to the “Keep the Music Playing” campaign.  Steve Moore, CMA chief executive officer, said the record economic impact this year “speaks volumes about the strength of this event, the dedication of our fans, the support of our local community and the popularity of our music and artists.”  The festival’s economic effect bears on the entire city of Nashville, increasing tourism which has a massive impact on hotels, restaurants, and souvenir shops.  This impact is critical to the city of Nashville and hopefully, with the opening of new hotels and restaurants downtown, will continue to build growth and economic stability for the future (source).

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