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The country music fan's guide to the CMA Music Festival

With a Nashville car rental, music lovers can take advantage of all the events and activities that make up the annual CMA Music Festival. This highly anticipated event takes place during four days in June in the heart of the metropolis LP Field, but there are shows and special activities scattered all throughout the city, from little known venues to the beloved Grand Ole Opry. Tens of thousands of people from every corner of the world come to this Tennessee locale to see some of the biggest names in the industry produce twangy rock and heart-turning melodies. Get ready for a long-weekend of excitement by learning about Nashville's beloved festival:

History of the festival

Started in 1972 by the Country Music Association (the same organization that runs the Country Music Association Awards), the CMA Music Festival is one of the largest fests of its kind, which is why it's been dubbed the "World's Biggest Country Music Festival in Downtown Nashville." But it wasn't always a massive affair. Initially a small fan fair of about 5,000 people, the fest managed to garner some of the best musicians in the genre, such as Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn.

With time and growing popularity, the festival expanded and began introducing more than great live music. For example, 1975 saw the first All-American Country Games, which feature musicians competing in sports games and has become a CMA Music Fest tradition that has prospered to this day. Since its starting days, the event has lured in country stars including Garth Brooks, George Strait, Randy Travis (though he was just a little-known musician at the time), Carrie Underwood and Toby Keith.

About the CMA Music Festival

With its massive crowds (2013 broke CMA Music Fest history with some 80,000 people), Nashville's downtown area is astir with cheering country fans. Guests can take a shuttle to LP Field or get a parking pass in advance to reserve a spot for your Tennessee car rental at the festival grounds (public parking may also be available throughout the city). In addition to live music by hundreds of bands and solo artists who play a role in the genre, including rock and roots musicians, the event has a plethora of other features. You can stroll the grounds of the family-friendly fair, take part in meet and greets and watch celebrities go head-to-head in sports competitions and get autographs from performers (autograph signings are huge at the fest, and stars have been known to pen their names for several hours at a time).

Use your CMA Music Festival car rental to visit The Belt, an expanse along Broadway covering three city blocks. This lively area is where you'll find people singing karaoke, dancing and enjoying refreshing brews. Walk about to sample free food and drink by local producers and join in on a game that lets you compete with other CMA Music Fest patrons.