Fan Fair 2002 made an impressive return to
Downtown Nashville, Thursday through Sunday, June 13-16, with an
aggregate attendance of more than 126,500 - slightly ahead of last
year's record-breaking mark - making it the biggest crowd in Fan
Fair's 31-year history. Enlarging the event and improving on the
successes of Fan Fair's move to Downtown Nashville in 2001, "The
World's Biggest Country Music Festival" provided more activities,
more stars and more music for the fans to enjoy.
"I'm happy to say it was a big success," said Ed Benson,
Executive Director of CMA. "At a time when concert ticket sales
are soft, we were able to hold the line and actually increase our
attendance. More importantly, the improvements we made for Fan Fair
2002 were appreciated by the fans and the hundreds of artists who
participated. Thanks to the breadth of activities, music and venues
Fan Fair has evolved into an extraordinary, world-class musical
More than 40 artists participated in the star-studded nightly concerts
at Adelphia Coliseum during the four days. The coliseum set up featured
new state-of-the-art staging with improved sight lines and more
seating. Even the traditional finale fireworks displays were bigger
and better for 2002. Many of Country Music's hottest stars took
to the Adelphia stage, including Trace Adkins, Brooks & Dunn,
Kenny Chesney, Billy Ray Cyrus, Diamond Rio, Alan Jackson, George
Jones, Toby Keith, Martina McBride, Jo Dee Messina, John Michael
Montgomery, Rascal Flatts, Earl Scruggs, SHeDAISY, Cyndi Thomson,
keith urban and Lee Ann Womack. One of the most popular elements
of the nightly concerts at Fan Fair continued to be the photo line,
where fans get close to the stage for shots of their favorite artists.
Country superstars Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn kicked off the nightly
concerts and brought the screaming fans to their feet with the patriotic
anthem "Only In America," jumpstarting the RCA Label Group
show. The star-filled concert featured outstanding performances,
including Alan Jackson, who ended his set with a poignant performance
of "Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning," which
he debuted on the CMA Awards in November 2001.
During the Sony Music show Friday, fans were thrilled when Tracy
Lawrence and Joe Diffie joined Mark Chesnutt on stage for a preview
of the upcoming "Rockin' Roadhouse Tour." The trio made
several appearances throughout the week. Billy Ray Cyrus, star of
PAX-TV's "Doc," closed the night with "Achy Breaky
Heart" the signature hit he debuted at Fan Fair in 1992.
It was another star-packed night at Adelphia Coliseum, with comedian
Bill Engvall hosting the WEA and EMI Show Saturday. Australian guitar
slinger Keith Urban recognized Father's Day with a touching new
song about his own father, "Song for Dad." Jo Dee Messina
had a few surprises for the crowd, mixing hits like "I'm Alright"
and "Bring on the Rain" with a medley that featured the
Country classic "Stand By Your Man" and Aretha Franklin's
The final concert at Adelphia Coliseum on Sunday brought a fitting
end to an action-packed week, with comedian T. Bubba Bechtol as
host of the UMVD Show. Legendary banjo picker Earl Scruggs and his
sons performed Scrugg's classic "Foggy Mountain Breakdown"
and invited Dan Tyminski to join them for "I Am A Man of Constant
Sorrow." A brief downpour didn't dampen enthusiasm for Lee
Ann Womack, who performed "I Hope You Dance" with people
dancing in the rain. The skies cleared as Toby Keith closed the
show with a robust set of his hits that kept fans on their feet
until the ending fireworks.
The Greased Lightning Riverfront Park Stages, bustled with a rich
array of artists from both major and independent labels, showcased
a broad range of musical influences and styles from classic to alternative
Country, and proved to be one of Fan Fair's favorite new venues.
The Bellamy Brothers kicked off the excitement Thursday morning
and by late Sunday, more than 70 artists had performed including
Sherrié Austin; Steve Azar; David Ball; Bastard Sons of Johnny
Cash; Chad Brock; Lane Brody; Tracy Byrd; Jeff Carson; Kellie Coffey
(who also appeared at Adelphia); Earl Thomas Conley; Rodney Crowell;
David Frizzell; Andy Griggs; Eric Heatherly; Marie Sisters; McBride
& The Ride; Brian McComas; Tift Merritt; Craig Morgan; David
Nail; Nashville Bluegrass Band; The Oak Ridge Boys; James Otto;
Lee Roy Parnell; Eddy Raven; Dan Seals; Shenandoah; Anthony Smith;
Connie Smith; the reunion of Joe Stampley & Moe Bandy; Tommy
Shane Steiner; Kevin Welch; Darryl Worley and Billy Yates.
A total of 445 artists appeared in the air-conditioned Exhibit Hall
at the Nashville Convention Center for the autograph and photo sessions
Thursday through Sunday. Fan attendance in the Hall exceeded 46,000,
up 21% from last year when the Hall was only open three days.
Fans lined up early (some as early as 2:00 AM) for admittance to
the Exhibit Hall in hopes of meeting their favorite Country stars.
Among the artists who had long lines at their booths were Trace
Adkins, Alabama, Billy Ray Cyrus, Tracy Lawrence, Rascal Flatts,
Andy Griggs, Brad Paisley, Jo Dee Messina, Neal McCoy, Blake Shelton,
Tommy Shane Steiner, Pam Tillis and Lee Ann Womack.
Superstar group Lonestar turned the tables on fans at the Exhibit
Hall having thousands of fans do the autograph signing on a special
wall in their booth. Billy Hoffman transformed his booth into an
Old West Saloon, complete with barstools where his fans could sit
A wall mural with Alan Jackson riding shotgun in a Jeep with his
"video" family from "Drive" adorned his booth.
Bryan White invited his fans to fish in his booth, which was inspired
by bait and tackle shops. At the Bush's Country Style Baked Beans
booth, fans could get their photo with Jay Bush and his dog Duke
and e-mail it to their family and friends.
Children of all ages enjoyed the Family Zone - a free interactive
area on Broadway between First and Second Avenues in Downtown Nashville.
Packed with activities for adults and children, there were free
product samples and information from several Fan Fair partners including
Domino's Pizza; Bush's Country Style Baked Beans; Kellogg's Cinnamon
Crispix cereal; Greased Lightning Super Strength Cleaner; and Clarinex.
The Coca-Cola Sega Interactive Game Truck was a hit with kids as
were the inflatable rides; the Got Milk Soccer Shoot Out; the Mars
Music Musical Petting Zoo (which featured a variety of instruments
for kids to try); the Cracker Barrel tent with rocking chairs and
checker board games; and the Food Lion-sponsored Book 'Em booth
with reading projects for children.
For the second year, the PBS children's television show "Between
The Lions" visited Downtown Nashville with popular puppets
Cleo and her rambunctious son Lionel encouraging children to read.
The program, which was sponsored by Food Lion, featured two shows
at the Wildhorse Saloon with celebrity readers Neal McCoy, Tracy
Lawrence and Joe Diffie. Later, Cleo and Lionel greeted kids at
the Food Lion Book 'Em booth in the Fan Fair Family Zone.
On Sunday, celebrities read stories to children as part of the Food
Lion Book 'Em campaign at the Hilton Park in front of the Country
Music Hall of Fame in the Downtown campus. Guest readers Sherrié
Austin, Rebecca Lynn Howard, Craig Morgan and Chalee Tennison sat
in rocking chairs surrounded by children and read stories including
The Cat In The Hat and Green Eggs and Ham.
Long after the concerts were finished at Adelphia Coliseum, the
music and fun were still alive at many of Nashville's most popular
downtown nightspots during Fan Fair After Hours. A dozen clubs including
Buffalo Billiards, Graham Central Station, The Stage, Hard Rock
Café, Legends Corner, Tootsie's Orchard Lounge and the Wildhorse
Saloon hosted Fan Fair attendees for more of Nashville's best entertainment
well into the night.
The first "CMT Flameworthy Video Music Awards" provided
an exciting new lead in for Fan Fair 2002 with many stars, including
the Dixie Chicks, who were on hand to receive the special Flameworthy
Video Visionary Award. Hosted by actress Kathy Najimy, awards were
presented in 12 categories for video excellence.
After the Awards, Marty Stuart hosted "Marty Stuart's Late
Night Jam" at the Ryman Auditorium. The After Hours event,
which also featured performance by Montgomery Gentry, Travis Tritt
and several others, had fans on their feet singing and dancing until
the wee hours of the morning
For the first time at Fan Fair, the "Wheel of Fortune"
Wheelmobile rolled into Music City, USA in search of contestants
to appear on the popular game show. The two-day auditions began
Friday, June 14 at the Gaylord Entertainment Center in Downtown
Nashville. Participants were chosen from the audience at random
to play a scaled-down version of the game, spinning a small wheel
for prizes and guessing letters to complete a puzzle. Country star
Pam Tillis and "Passions" star James Hyde both made a
surprise visit at the auditions to cheer-on thousands of eager contestants.
"Wheel of Fortune" will be back in January 2003 to tape
several shows at the Grand Ole Opry House for "Country Music
The Fan Fair Celebrity Archery Shoot-Out Friday, June 14, scored
a bulls-eye list of shooting stars. Country artists competed in
the parking lot of Adelphia Coliseum. RCA recording artist Andy
Griggs, who hosted the event, took the top prize with 106 points,
leading his competitors to joke that it was "rigged."
Other artists who participated include Tracy Byrd, Jeff Carson,
Gary Levox of Rascal Flatts, Chris Marcy, Brad Paisley, Joshua Ragsdale,
Blake Shelton, Rusty Tabor, Neil Thrasher and Darryl Worley.
Fan Fair Radio Partner MJI CMA's official Fan Fair radio partner
MJI Programming, a division of Premiere Radio Networks, brought
to Nashville some of Country Radio's top-rated stations for a four-day
remote that covered the excitement of Fan Fair from the Nashville
Convention Center. Among the dozens of artists who took the opportunity
to visit with fans via radio were Chris Cagle, Diamond Rio, Sara
Evans, Alan Jackson, Lonestar, Martina McBride, JoDee Messina, Jamie
O'Neal, Brad Paisley, Cyndi Thomson, Trick Pony, Phil Vassar, Lee
Ann Womack, Trisha Yearwood and many others including the NBC soap
Stations taking part were WUSN-Chicago, WMZQ-Washington D.C., KSD-St.
Louis, WFMS-Indianapolis, WCOL-Columbus, WKKT-Charlotte, WDAF-Kansas
City, WSM/FM-Nashville, WGKX-Memphis, WAMZ-Louisville, WPOC-Baltimore,
WQDR-Raleigh, WQYK-Tampa, WYAY-Atlanta and the syndicated radio
show "After Midnight with Blair Garner."
Fan Fair Partner Ford Trucks Ford, the exclusive truck of Fan Fair,
brought several programming elements to the festival this year:
Two interactive displays were set up featuring cars and skill tests
around the Fan Fair campus. For the first time, the Ford No Boundaries
Fun Street Team was sent out throughout the Downtown footprint each
day to meet with fans, answer questions and give away free souvenirs.
Ford Trucks presented the Ford Legends Wall honoring those leaders
in the Country Music industry who have passed away in the last year
- providing a biography on each.
The Middle Tennessee Ford Dealers Association gave away a Ford Expedition
on the last night of Fan Fair with the help of SHeDAISY and local
radio station WSIX-FM. And each night at Adelphia Coliseum, Ford
Trucks and the Country Music Hall of Fame presented trivia on the
big screens as fans arrived. Ford Trucks and Outsmart joined forces
with the Country Music Hall of Fame to produce two web events featuring
Country artists including Montgomery Gentry and Jeff Carson.
According to Tower Records, which sold CDs at the Nashville Convention
Center, Adelphia Coliseum and Greased Lightning Riverfront Park
Stages, the top 10 selling artists for Fan Fair 2002 were (in order)
Little Big Town, Kellie Coffey, Kenny Chesney, Blake Shelton, Trace
Adkins, Alan Jackson, Steve Azar, Brad Paisley, Sara Evans and Tommy
Shane Steiner. All of these artists performed during Fan Fair.
www.FanFair.com, Fan Fair's official website, had 116,000 unique
visitors during the first 16 days of June, with a total of 372,301
page views and 6279163 hits. The site's web cam provided more than
3,000 photos of artist performances from the evening concerts at
Adelphia Coliseum over the course of four days.
Fan Fair 2003 takes place Thursday through Sunday, June 5-8 in Downtown
Nashville and includes all the elements that have made Fan Fair
2002 a rousing success including Nightly Concerts in the Coliseum
home of the Tennessee Titans, Daily Concerts at the Riverfront Park
Stages, the "Family Zone" and the popular exhibits and
autograph sessions at the Nashville Convention Center.