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Fan Fair 2001 Draws Record Breaking Crowds; All New Event Sizzles with Non-Stop Excitement, More Music and Fun.

Entertainment Editors & Music Writers

NASHVILLE, Tenn.--(ENTERTAINMENT WIRE)--June 18, 2001

Fan Fair(R) made an impressive return to Downtown Nashville June 14-17 with an aggregate daily attendance of more than 124,000 - the biggest crowd ever in Fan Fair's history. Fans who attended the World's Biggest Country Music Festival were introduced to the many new sights, sounds and venues that made up the all-new Fan Fair - including Adelphia Coliseum, the Nashville Convention Center, Riverfront Park Stages and Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park.

"We are thrilled with Fan Fair 2001 and its dynamic return to Downtown Nashville," said Ed Benson, Executive Director of CMA. "The record attendance evidences that we've turned things around. We've heard nothing but great comments from the artists who were all so very pleased with the new, world-class facilities.

"One hundred fifteen acts performed on the Fan Fair 2001 stages and more than 175 acts appeared in the Exhibit Hall for the autograph and photo sessions, confirming Fan Fair's position as the World's Biggest Country Music Festival."

Adelphia Coliseum was the location for the nightly, star-studded concerts, complete with state-of-the-art staging and finale fireworks displays. Many of Country Music's hottest stars took to the Adelphia stage, including Billy Ray Cyrus, Vince Gill, Alan Jackson, Lonestar, Martina McBride, JoDee Messina, Sawyer Brown, Travis Tritt, Trisha Yearwood and surprise guest Tim McGraw, who joined his tourmate Kenny Chesney to perform two songs on closing night. One of the most popular elements of the nightly concerts at Fan Fair continued to be the fan photo line, a longstanding tradition where fans can get up close to the stage for photos of their favorite artists.

Lee Ann Womack kicked-off Fan Fair's Opening Ceremonies at Adelphia Coliseum on Thursday, June 13, singing the National Anthem. She was joined by Bobby Jones and the Nashville Super Choir. Also appearing were Marty Stuart, the W.O. Smith Community Music School children's choir singing "America the Beautiful," the Tennessee Scots Pipe Band and a color guard from the US Air Force, making for a moving and patriotic ceremony which also reflected the musical roots of Country Music.

The popular exhibits and autograph sessions moved to the air-conditioned Nashville Convention Center and they were packed wall-to-wall with fans, artists and media. More than 175 artists appeared at the exhibit hall to sign autographs and take photos with fans. Country superstar Vince Gill sent the crowd into a frenzy on Saturday when he made a surprise appearance at the Grand Ole Opry booth. Much to the delight of his fans, Billy Ray Cyrus made an unscheduled second visit on Saturday to the exhibit hall following his initial visit on Friday.

Longtime Fan Fair supporter Clint Black couldn't physically be at Fan Fair, but found a way to continue his presence at the festival by chatting live via Yahoo! with fans at his booth. Black's fans were also invited to take pictures with a stand-up of him, which Black will later sign and return. The stars of NBC's daytime dramas "Days Of Our Lives" and "Passions" created lots of excitement and added yet another new dimension to Fan Fair, signing autographs for several hours.

One of Fan Fair's newest concert venues - Riverfront Park Stages presented a rich assortment of artists from both major and independent labels and represented a broad range of musical influences and styles from classic to alternative Country, Hispanic music to gospel. With two side-by-side stages for performances by artists including Sherrie Austin, John Berry, Radney Foster, Vern Gosdin, Eric Heatherly, Lila McCann, Neal McCoy, Charley Pride and Sons of the Desert, there was something for everyone.

Children of all ages enjoyed the brand new Family Zone at Bicentennial Mall, an alcohol-free environment for families which included the Fan Fair Carnival, Fan Fair 2001 National Barbecue Championship Cook-Off, the "Best in Texas" show and activities on the grounds of Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park. Dynamic young stars Jessica Andrews and Billy Gilman took to the stage, as did David Ball, Bobbie Eakes, Craig Morgan, Lee Roy Parnell, South 65 and others. The Family Zone, free and open to the public, also featured popular characters from the PBS literacy series "Between The Lions" reading aloud to the children.

Long after the concerts were finished at Adelphia Coliseum, the music and fun were still alive at some of Nashville's most popular downtown nightspots during Fan Fair After Hours. 12 clubs including Buffalo Billiards, Graham Central Station, Planet Hollywood, Tootsie's Orchard Lounge and the Wildhorse Saloon hosted Fan Fair attendees for more of Nashville's best entertainment well into the night. A major highlight of Fan Fair After Hours was the NBC Daytime party June 16 at the Wildhorse Saloon, where actors from "Days of Our Lives" and Passions" hosted a sold-out crowd of soap opera fans, performing and signing autographs.

"While we are extremely pleased with the success of Fan Fair 2001, it is obvious that with anything of this size and stature there are opportunities to be addressed as we strive to evolve and improve," Benson said. "Discussions are ongoing and we were taking notes throughout the event on ways to make Fan Fair 2002 even better. Our commitment is to the artists and the fans to make this an event they both support and look forward to each year."

Tickets for Fan Fair 2002, June 13-16 in Downtown Nashville went on advance sale yesterday and are available for a limited time at 2001 prices. Four-day ticket packages are divided into three categories based on the different levels of seating at Adelphia Coliseum. Fans buying tickets can now pick their reserved seats at Adelphia for 2002. CMA will continue its popular program of offering a discount for fans 18 and younger. CMA will guarantee 2001 ticket prices until 2 PM/CT, Tuesday, July 31, 2001. Ticket prices do not include tax and handling fees, and range from $90-$115. Fans who order their 2002 tickets early will ensure they get the best seats available for next year. Fan Fair 2002 tickets may be ordered by calling toll-free 866/FAN-FAIR and through all Ticketmaster outlets.

According to Tower Records, which sold CDs at the Nashville Convention Center, Adelphia Coliseum and Riverfront Park Stages, the top 10 selling artists for Fan Fair 2001 were (in order) Brad Paisley, Trisha Yearwood, Montgomery Gentry, Trick Pony, Tammy Cochran, Kenny Chesney, Travis Tritt, Billy Gilman, Chris Cagle and Sara Evans. All of these artists performed during Fan Fair.

CMA's official Fan Fair radio partner MJI Broadcasting brought to Nashville some of country radio's top-rated stations for a three-day remote that covered the excitement of Fan Fair from the Gaylord Entertainment Center. Among the dozens of artists who took the opportunity to visit with fans via radio were Lonestar, Brad Paisley, Collin Raye, Sara Evans, SHeDAISY, Tracy Lawrence, Billy Ray Cyrus and many others including the NBC soap opera stars.

Stations taking part were WUSN-Chicago, WMZQ-Washington D.C., KSD-St. Louis, WFMS-Indianapolis, WCOL-Columbus, WKKT-Charlotte, WDAF-Kansas City, WSM-Nashville, WYNY-New York, WGKX-Memphis, and WAMZ-Louisville.

www.FanFair.com, Fan Fair's official website, had 166,159 unique visitors during the first 17 days of June, with a total of 516,445 page views and 7,185,646 hits. CMA presented nearly 1,000 photos of artist performances from the evening concerts at Adelphia Coliseum over the course of four days. When ordering Fan Fair 2002 tickets, fans will be able to log on and use IPIX 360-degree photography to help select their seat locations for next year's festival.

Partners for Fan Fair 2001 included CMT, TNN, Country Weekly and Country Music magazines. Ford was the official Truck of Fan Fair. Blue Bonnet was the presenting sponsor of Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park Family Zone. Food Lion was the presenting sponsor of Riverfront Park Stages. Greased Lightning presented the Fan Fair 2001 National Barbecue Championship Cook-Off. Promotional partners included American Airlines, Bush's Country Style Baked Beans, Camping World, Coca-Cola, Jack Daniel's Grilling Sauce, MUSICMATCH, NBC Daytime, Pizza Hut, The Rage, Southwest Airlines, SunCom, The Tennessean and United Airlines. MJI Broadcasting was the official radio packager for Fan Fair.

For additional information about Fan Fair 2001, visit www.FanFair.com. Fan Fair is organized and produced by the Country Music Association and is a registered trademark of CMA.
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Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Date:Jun 18, 2001
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