The Country Music Association set the stage again for their annual CMA Festival in Nashville, TN. With artist appearances ranging from fan-favorites Taylor Swift and Shania Twain to newer guns like American Idol winner Scott McCreery, there was certainly something for everyone to enjoy.
But this isn’t your typical festival. Yes, fans do get to experience a weekend full of their favorite music, but this is a different business model. Artists volunteer their time, money and equipment to perform for them. What gives? As impressive as the lineup was and how many celebrities showed up to mingle with the crowd throughout the weekend, what’s more impressive is what purpose this gathering serves for the CMA. In 2006 CMA launched “Keep The Music Playing” (KTMP), a charity that supports music education in Metro NAshville Public Schools through the Alliance for Public Education. With the money raised from ticket sales and donations, the CMA has purchased nearly 4,000 instruments, funded music education campaigns, built music labs and donated to various regional charitable causes.
If a single institution can raise nearly 1.5 million dollars to charity in a single weekend event, how much of an impact could the collective efforts of the entire music world have on their surrounding communities? Yes, we’re all familiar with Live Aid and some of us in the younger crowd might have even been a part of the more recent Live 8, and these events had massive political backing. But this is a singularity: there is no consistency in what is done. Of course, there’s no denying the effect that tthe Live Aid concerts and rallies had, but it came and went. There was no follow-up, nothing continuous. It left our minds after the media hype was over. Since the CMA has a long-term investment with KTMP and needs to show results in order to keep functioning, it assuredly manages its funds and expenses in a decidedly more detailed manner. Not only that, but the whole country music community will be consistently aware of this particular social necessity.
Music has the power to bring people together: what better cause than this?