Mark Wills Celebrates His 20th Friends Club Party During CMA Fest

Courtesy Webster PR

Courtesy Webster PR

Country artist Mark Wills celebrated a milestone at this year’s CMA Music Festival: his 20th annual friends club party. Through the years, he has hosted his Friday morning friends club party at such venues as the Hard Rock Café, the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry House. For the 20th event, he held it at the George Jones Entertainment Complex on 2nd Avenue in downtown Nashville.

It’s easy to see why Wills prefers the name friends club over fan club. Throughout the morning, Wills talked and joked with the attendees as a person might interact with that friends. “These guys are not fans, they are friends for them to support me as long as they have,” Wills said.

When Wills looked at the crowd on June 10, he saw many familiar faces. He told the Nashville Music Guide that many of the people have attended the friends club party ten or more times.  “For them to continue to support us through that much time is impressive,” he said.

In 1996, Wills had a hit with “Jacob’s Ladder,” a song that Wills played during the June 10 event. Did Wills expect when that first single came out that he would be celebrating his 20th friends club party in 2016?  “I always wanted to be,” Wills said. “There’s a lot of folks that come to the music business to transition into something else. I always wanted to be a singer… I love to sing country music. That’s what I wanted to do from the time I was a little kid and hopefully God will allow me to do that until the day I die.”

Wills said he always felt that the voice of artists like Merle Haggard and George Jones improved  as time progressed. While he said he’s not comparing himself to Haggard or Jones, he feels like his own voice gets deeper over time and has a little more resonance.

It’s obvious that Wills has a high level of respect for traditional country artists. He spoke during the party about where he was when he heard that Haggard had passed away. Wills and the band did a tribute to Haggard by performing a medley of some of his biggest hits.

Wills said he doesn’t think there are a lot of people who enjoy the same type of country music he listened to as he was growing up. “The music that they are making now is more pop-themed music and that’s ok,” he said. “That’s fine, but I think there has to be room for all of it. I think there has to be room for artists on the radio that don’t subscribe to the pop music.”

Wills said that he has release pop songs as well during his career, but his true love is for classic traditional country music. “That’s what I love to sing and that’s what we are working on in the studio now.”

He expects to release new music later this year or in early 2017.

People may have seen Wills doing something else he enjoys: hunting. Hunting isn’t something Wills has always done. “I started hunting when my youngest daughter developed a food allery,” he said.

Recently, Wills has helped Remmington celebrate their 200th anniversary. He said he has hosted some of their hunts. “My transition to Remington was simply because I was hosting a show for them.” Now that that is done, he’s not sure what late 2016 and 2017 holds for his hunting stuff.

What would Wills like to tell his fans? “Just tell them we love them. We appreciate them. We are grateful to have been here for 20 years and we hope to be here for 20 more.”

So much fun so little time at CMA Fest

Ty Herndon Ty Herndon4 copy Ty Herndon2 Tootsies booth CMA FAN ALLEY Street Performer River Front Stage Boaters Enjoy the show Fans at the Cruze Stage Eileen at Rippy's Eileen Carey at Twin Keggs II Fan Fair X Food truck AlleyPhoto Credit Cilene Bosch

The first full day of CMA Fest kicked off with almost 87,000 country music fans making their way to various stages to watch both old favorites and new up and rising artists.

Scotty McCreedy Scotty McCreedy Sugarland Sugarland Sugarland Sugarland Marie Osmond Eileen Carey IMG_2829[1]

 

 

CMA Fest Opening Ceremony

Written by:  Cilene Bosch

Photo Credit:  Cilene Bosch

 

Ascend Audience 2Thousands of CMA Music Festival pass holders filled the Ascend Amphitheater  Wednesday Morning for the Festival’s opening ceremony.

This year’s CMA Fest (which runs through Sunday June 12) is Mayor  Barry’s first CMA as Nashville Mayor and she  focused on the significance of this annual event, the work it takes for a city to put together and the impact it has with the 87,000 visitors and more than $60million in revenue which raises $10 million for music Education programs in Metro Schools. Barry said “ We welcome you and …hope you spend a lot of money…”

The party kicked off with the Fisk Jubilee Singers who delivered a rousing rendition of the National Anthem.  Country superstar Chris Young was this years host and told the audience that he has attended the CMA Fest ( and it previous Fan Fair) for as long as he could remember. First as a fan with his family, then as an artist.

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The McGavock High School Drum Line made a transitory  performance just prior to  Chris Young taking the stage to start off with his first chart-topper, :Getting’ You Home ( The Black Dress Song) He called out local American Idol finalist Tristan McIntosh to join him for “When You Say Nothing At All” an acknowledgment to  Young’s musical hero, the late Keith Whitley.

Audiences were ready to enjoy the afternoon line up of artists as the festival kicked off under the sweltering heat. Chris Young did remind the audience that” if you are going to enjoy CMA Fest you have to remember 3 things… 1. Sunglasses, 2. Sunscreen and 3. Water!”

 

 

BONNAROO COMEDY THEATER PRESENTED BY TBS UNVEILS 2016 LINEUP

Superfly and A.C. Entertainment are proud to unveil the stunning lineup for the Bonnaroo Comedy Theater Presented by TBS at this year’s 2016 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, taking place June 9 – 12, as ever at Great Stage Park, the spectacular 700-acre farm and event space located just 60 miles south of Nashville in Manchester, Tennessee. Long hailed as one of the world renowned festival’s most unique attractions, the Bonnaroo Comedy Theater Presented by TBS will see a killer collection of comedic talents performing headline sets in an air-conditioned venue on in the heart of The Farm.
Bonnaroo’s famed Comedy Theater has featured more than 150 comedians over the past decade and has become an annual stop for both superstars and comics on the rise, including the likes of Amy Schumer, Aziz Ansari, Marc Maron, Louis CK, Chris Rock, Margaret Cho, Conan O’Brien, Daniel Tosh, Hannibal Burress, Reggie Watts, the cast of

Broad City, and many more.  TBS comedians performing at the Comedy Theatre this year will be John Early from
Search Party, Adam Ray from
Separation Anxiety & Alice Wetterlund from
People of Earth.
 
 
2016 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival Comedy Lineup
 
Judd Apatow
Adam Devine
Vanessa Bayer
Pete Davidson
Bridget Everett
Piff the Magic Dragon
John Early
Sean Patton
Nate Bargatze
Alice Wetterlund
The Goddamn Comedy Jam
Aparna Nancherla
Beth Stelling
Adam Ray
Josh Rabinowitz
Joyelle Nicole
Matteo Lane
Jak Knight
Ian Abramson
Sam Jay
“As we continue to evolve the TBS brand, Bonnaroo is exactly where we need to be,” said Brett Weitz executive vice president of original programming for TBS.  “This is just the start of building our relationship and creating incredible comedy experiences at this premiere festival.”

Bonnaroo will be sharing several special Facebook Live announcements from a select group of performing comedians today beginning at noon ET. Follow alonghttps://www.facebook.com/bonnaroo.
The 2016 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival marks the event’s milestone 15th anniversary and as such, is being celebrated with more than 150 extraordinary musicians, bands, and comedians performing across its 12 unique stages. The lineup features a strikingly deep roster of talent that includes Pearl Jam, Dead & Company (2 sets), LCD Soundsystem, J. Cole, Ellie Goulding, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Tame Impala (late night), Death Cab For Cutie, M83, Haim, Miguel, Chris Stapleton, Big Grams (Big Boi + Phantogram), Tyler the Creator, Lamb of God, Blood Orange, Kamasi Washington, Waxahatchee, Vince Staples and many more.
General Admission and VIP ticket packages for the 2016 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival are on sale now exclusively via www.bonnaroo.com.
 
About Bonnaroo
Held on a sprawling 700 acre farm in Manchester, Tennessee, Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival is a four-day immersive experience, celebrating the best in live music entertainment from timeless legends to emerging artists in rock, hip hop, electronic, jazz and Americana.  Since 2002, Bonnaroo has been a staple of the American music festival scene, bringing together hundreds of thousands of attendees in a one of a kind camping environment, to experience more than 125 artists and 20 comedians perform across 12 stages. Bonnaroo is the only large scale festival in the country that operates around the clock and features a variety of curated experiences including, a 24 hour cinema, comedy club, beer festival, theater performers, and more. Co-founded by Superfly and AC Entertainment, Bonnaroo is a once in a lifetime experience that happens every June.  Learn more at www.bonnaroo.com, Twitter @bonnaroo, Facebook and Instagram @bonnaroo.

CMA Announces Lineup For Free Daily Concerts On The Park Stage In Walk Of Fame Park During 2016 CMA Music Festival

Lauren Alaina will perform on The Park Stage at Walk of Fame Park during the 2016 CMA Music Festival. Photo Credit: Courtesy UMG Nashville

Lauren Alaina will perform on The Park Stage at Walk of Fame Park during the 2016 CMA Music Festival.
Photo Credit: Courtesy UMG Nashville

Momentum continues to build for CMA Music Festival with the announcement of nearly 40 acts confirmed to perform during free daily concerts on The Park Stage in Walk of Fame Park Thursday-Sunday, June 9-12 in downtown Nashville.

Video screens are returning to The Park Stage to ensure everyone enjoys a close-up view of their favorite artists. Additionally, a new placement of the stage will allow fans to be even closer to the action during performances.

Country Music fans will enjoy hours of back-to-back performances starting Thursday, June 9 at 10:30 AM/CT featuring music from the genre’s hottest new hitmakers and crowd favorites each day until approximately 5:00 PM/CT. The daily concerts are free and open to the public.

“We consistently seek to improve the experience for fans at CMA Music Festival. This year The Park Stage will feature a new configuration to accompany the video walls and state of the art production,” said Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer. “The Park Stage has always been a fan favorite and with this year’s lineup we are taking it to the next level.”

Jamie Lynn Spears will perform on The Park Stage at Walk of Fame Park during the 2016 CMA Music Festival. Photo Credit: Courtesy Crowd Surf

Jamie Lynn Spears will perform on The Park Stage at Walk of Fame Park during the 2016 CMA Music Festival.
Photo Credit: Courtesy Crowd Surf

Artists performing on The Park Stage at Walk of Fame Park include: Lauren Alaina, Keith Anderson, Drew Baldridge, Tucker Beathard, Big Smo, Kristian Bush,Ashley Campbell, Chris Carmack, Jason Michael Carroll, Russell Dickerson, Drake White and the Big Fire, Clare Dunn, Lindsay Ell, Emerson Drive, Andy Griggs, Halfway to Hazard, Ty Herndon, JT Hodges,Jack Ingram, Ryan Kinder, Natalie Stovall and The Drive, Native Run, Mo PitneyRaeLynn, Julie Roberts, Maggie Rose, Lucie Silvas, Jamie Lynn Spears, The Swon Brothers, Josh Thompson, Tara Thompson, Chuck Wicks, Mark Wills, and Brett Young. Also joining the lineup with their debut performances at CMA Fest are Luke Combs, Crowder,Mickey Guyton, Aubrie Sellers, and The Sheepdogs.

Mickey Guyton will perform on The Park Stage at Walk of Fame Park during the 2016 CMA Music Festival. Photo Credit: Catherine Powell

Mickey Guyton will perform on The Park Stage at Walk of Fame Park during the 2016 CMA Music Festival.
Photo Credit: Catherine Powell

Free daily concerts take place on five outdoor stages across the Festival footprint. Attendees can also enjoy the many lifestyle exhibits, which appeal to a wide variety of ages and interests. The concerts on The Park Stage offer fun for everyone and are easily accessed with a short walk from all Festival venues, including Fan Fair X where fans can enjoy more concerts, exhibits, a marketplace, live broadcasts, demonstrations, one-on-one interactions with artists during meet and greets in the state-of-the-art Music City Center.

For the second year, fans will be able to purchase a four-day pass to the Fan Fair X that includes a general admission ticket to the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum that is good for use any day in 2016. The package deal is on sale now through Friday, June 10 and costs $39.95. The combination Fan Fair X/Country Music Hall of Fame tickets are available via the Country Music Hall of Fame website, http://countrymusichalloffame.org, and will also be sold at their box office during the week of CMA Music Festival.

Funds generated through CMA Music Festival ticket sales for the Nightly Concerts and Fan Fair X benefit music education reaching 1 million children across the United States. Since 2006, CMA and the CMA Foundation have donated more than $13.6 million to support sustainable music education initiatives across the country on behalf of the artists who participate in the event for free.

For upcoming talent announcements and all other info stay connected with CMA on CMAfest.com,Facebook.com/CMA, Twitter.com/CountryMusic,Instagram.com/CMA, and sign up for CMA Country Connection, CMA’s e-newsletter. This year’s app is now available in the App store for iPhone and Android and includes features that allow fans to create individual concert schedules and be the first to know which of their favorite stars will be appearing on the free stages throughout the Festival.