More than 124,000 attended last weekend's Fan Fair country music festival in Nashville, according the Country Music Association (CMA). In the past, a sold-out festival topped out at 96,000. That was s

More than 124,000 attended last weekend's Fan Fair country music festival in Nashville, according the Country Music Association (CMA). In the past, a sold-out festival topped out at 96,000. That was surpassed this year thanks to the move from the Tennessee State Fairgrounds to a new venue in Music City's downtown area. Last year's Fan Fair at the old site suffered a dip in attendance, drawing approximately 80,000.

"The record attendance evidences that we've turned things around," said Ed Benson, CMA executive director. "We've heard nothing but great comments from the artists, who were all so very pleased with the new, world-class facilities."

Besides allowing more people to attend, the primary benefit of the move was more and diversified music. There were three concert venues instead of one. The move also allowed fans to be closer to downtown attractions such as the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, as well as restaurants and nightclubs. Fans paid between $90 and $115 for a four-day pass. Shuttles were available to help them negotiate downtown Nashville.

Alan Jackson and Sawyer Brown each played evening concerts at Adelphia Coliseum, while edgier and independent artists like Sherrie Austin and John Evans played at two other daytime stages. Fan Fair also included daylong autograph sessions, an awards show, a celebrity softball game, a carnival, many private fan club events, nightclub performances, and events at the Grand Ole Opry.

Tickets for the 2002 incarnation of Fan Fair -- set for June 13-16 -- are already on sale via Ticketmaster and by calling 866-FAN-FAIR. For more information, visit the event's official weekend's Web site .


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