In April 1972, the Country Music Association held its inaugural “Fan Faire” at Nashville’s Municipal Auditorium, which welcomed 5,000 fans and featured artists including Loretta Lynn, Roy Acuff, Tom Cruise, and others. T. Hall, and Ernest Tubb.
In the five decades since, the festival — which was renamed CMA Fest in 2018 — has grown into a four-day extravaganza that regularly draws 80,000 fans to downtown Nashville. On June 8-11, CMA Fest will celebrate its 50th anniversary, featuring performances from artists including Tim McGraw, Luke Bryan, Luke Combs, Lainie Wilson, Miranda Lambert, Eric Church, Hardy, Cody Johnson and Hailey Whitters.
That growth and development — which included moving to the Tennessee State Fairgrounds in 1982 and downtown Nashville in 2001 — will be highlighted in the 75-minute documentary CMA Fest: 50 Years of Fan Fairwhich will debut on Hulu on Wednesday, July 5.
CMA Fest: 50 Years of Fan Fair CMA’s first feature film. CMA CEO Sarah Trahern and Senior Vice President, Marketing, Content and Communications Strategy Kelly Striewski serve as executive producers on the film.
The festival’s journey is shown through face-to-face interviews with artists including Keith Urban, Winona Judd, Jenny Seeley, Laurie Morgan, Dolly Parton, Frankie Staton, Carrie Underwood and Reba McEntire.
“CMA Fest has taken many shapes throughout its history,” Trahern said via a statement. “As we step into our 50th This year, our hope with this film is to underline the one thing that has remained with the festival – its heart. We are thrilled to share the evolution and magic of this incredible event with Hulu viewers.
“What better way to tell the story of CMA Fest than through the eyes of the artists, our industry and fans,” said Striewski. “This film highlights the truly unique connections that exist within CMA Fest and how the festival continues to grow the country community during its 50 years. We couldn’t be more happy to debut this story on Hulu.”
“We have a long and valuable partnership with CMA and are excited to expand upon it by adding this extraordinary film to the Hulu slate,” said Rob Mills, Executive Vice President, Unscripted and Alternative Entertainment, Walt Disney Television. “We can’t wait to share this with music fans everywhere, who will be treated to a behind-the-scenes look at the heart of CMA Fest and its many contributions to the country music community.”
The history of CMA Fest will also be chronicled in other exhibits, including the photography exhibit “In the Hands of the Fans: Fifty Years of CMA Fest,” opening June 6 at the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum. In addition, there will be a screening of the 1997 documentary at the Hall of Fame on June 10. fan fair event, which aired on the Nashville Network. The screening will take place on June 10 at 2:30 p.m. in the museum’s Ford Theater and is included in the cost of museum admission, although Country Music Hall of Fame and museum members can view the documentary for free.