Every year at CMA Music Festival, hundreds of folks come to CMA Music Festival over-prepared and over-packed. So much so that you know that there's no way they can really enjoy this wonderful music festival to its fullest while having to keep track of so much stuff.
Seasoned CMA Music Festival fans have learned what they need to bring and most all have dwindled down their essential items to a few carefully chosen must have 24/7 CMA Music Festival Essentials.
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Nothing's worse that having your camera batteries go dead just as soon as Alan Jackson walks in the door. Carry extra batteries with you at all times! You should put fresh new batteries in your camera every morning and sometimes in the afternoon too.
As for bringing rechargeable batteries, it's a personal choice but remember, if you choose them, you will also need to pack a charger too. It's much easier just to use regular old batteries as it's just one less thing to try and keep up with.
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Cameras / Electronics
The last thing you want to do is be lugging around a heavy camera case all week long so unless you're a professional photographer, leave the big bulky camera at home and bring a smaller high pixel digital camera with a good zoom lens.
Same thing goes for bringing laptops, net books and such - leave them at home and just bring a good old jump drive.
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Yes, bring a cell phone but remember there's almost nothing worse than a phone going down during the CMAfest so make sure to keep it charged or just bring a light weight long battery life pocket-size text phone.
Remember chances are good if someone calls while you're listening to live music one of three things are going to happen; 1) you will be asked to turn it off, 2) you won't hear it ringing, and 3) even if you do hear it you still won't be able to what hear the person is saying. If around music, put your phone on vibrate so you can feel it vs. hearing it.
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Nothing makes a person more miserable than pain and if you don't wear good comfortable walking shoes, by the end of the week or even day, your feet will be hurting so leave the cute shoes and boots at home.
If you must bring them only wear them if you're attending a special CMA Music Festival event or specific short term activity.Continue to 5 of 12 below.
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ID Case / Lanyard Container
Take the time to buy an extra lanyard type container. They are convenient, comfortable, sturdy and almost impossible to lose if they are worn as intended - around you neck.
You can put your miscellaneous daily event tickets, ID, Credit cards, cash, and such on the back side of the lanyard holder and attach it the backside of your CMA Music Festival lanyard - it's a pretty tight and secure fit. Make sure to place your CMA Music Festival Pass on the top so that security won't be continuously stopping you.
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Money / Credit Cards
While having a credit card is good for buying some items, you will still need some good ole hard cold cash. Most small vendors don't accept credit cards at all.So yep, you're going to need some running in your pocket money all the times.
If you do use a credit card - bring it with you! It's convenient and great to have when you purchase larger ticket items. Most all of the local businesses and events surrounding the CMA Music Festival accept them with the exception of street vendors. It's a lot easier to figure out, budget, and track your final CMA Music Festival costs every year too.
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If you're a big autograph-seeker, you should always have a sharpie with you because you never know which of your favorite country music stars that you will run across or when.
You ought to normally carry several types of Sharpies - the favorite Sharpies to have on hand (anytime) are the mini key-chain sharpies.
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Backpack / Travel Bag
You shouldn't go so far to say that carrying a backpack (or travel styled purse etc) is a must do but it is worth serious consideration and review - therefore it's added it to this CMA Music Festival essentials list.
Small Backpacks are great for freeing up your hands but don't make a mistake by bringing a big backpack as they can be bulky and heavy, not to mention, that most venues do not allow big backpacks at all. Instead and if you must, bring a small light-weight back pack styled carry-all.Continue to 9 of 12 below.
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During the day, most all of the musical performances and events take place outside. If you don't wear sunscreen, you will burn!
Put on a good dose of high SPF sunscreen on every morning and anytime you get back to your accommodations. I usually carry a small pocket size container with me during daylight hours too.
My favorites are sunscreen containers that are either the clip-ons or on key-chains. I usually pre-buy several - at least one for each day of CMA Music Festival.
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Make sure that you have a valid ID card with you at all times. CMA Music Festival officials sometimes ask to see it to compare with your CMA Music Festival passes and all of the downtown clubs will require an ID as well.
As a precaution, always make and bring an extra photo copy of your ID to CMA Music Festival too. Leave the extra copy in the hotel, just in case.
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Expect it to be hot & humid in Nashville! Expect to dehydrate!
Water is sold on just about every street corner buy it, drink it, and drink lots of it. If you see a water fountain, stop and drink some more. If that's not enough, spend some time in one of the mist tents too.
Note: Many any venues will now allow you to bring in water but some still don't - so be prepared to toss the bottle and get another at any time.
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Writing / Autograph Materials
The CMA Music Festival folks normally do offer a daily schedule but this is really helpful especially when someone tells you about a really cool unscheduled or last minute event. Trust me, there's so much going on that it can easily overwhelm even the most well-seasoned CMAfest veterans.
It's a good idea for autograph seekers to bring CD booklets if you're planning to attend any autograph signings. Don't bother with bringing a lot of glossy photos because there are numerous artists that will only sign their officially issued glossies.