CMA Music Festival 2009

Annie Reuter covers country music at this year's CMA Music Festival.

This past week's annual CMA Music Festival reminded me of why I'm so passionate about music. The energy, the excitement, and the thrill of meeting your favorite musician is an experience everyone can relate to. Despite a few technical snafus (including a fivce hour flight delay due to a failed electrical generator and my laptop crashing while attempting to live blog the festival), the behind-the-scenes access to CMA week and determination to bring you the most intriguing interviews and festival coverage is what kept me going.

Growing up I was a huge music fan, always researching the latest news on my favorite band, in constant hope to one day meet them. CMA makes this dream come true for country music fans. Whether it was waiting in line for an autograph (in Taylor Swift's case hundreds of fans camped out over night) or attending an exclusive fan party where a band debuts new tracks off their upcoming album and takes questions from those in attendance, the CMA Music Festival is unlike any other music festival out there. The entire week is solely dedicated to the fans and thanking them for their continued support. After all, a musician wouldn't be anyone without his fans.

Over the course of four days I interviewed some amazingly talented up-and-coming musicians (David Nail, Jake Owen, Holly Williams) as well as some of country's legends (Martina McBride). Additionally, I learned how to be more aggressive in the nightly press conferences. While I'm more a fan of one-on-one interviews, the first night was a learning experience as press conferences are often a free for all with everyone jumping in and talking over each other. Thursday was definitely an adjustment, but by Friday I was a pro and able to get in many questions to some of country's hottest talent.

I traveled to Nashville with two friends, Wendy and Deana who helped me out with photos and video footage during the festival, so I'm psyched to include their coverage as well within the next few days. Be on the lookout for tons of interviews, photos and trip highlights, including a stop at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Studio B as well as Memphis to visit Elvis Presley's infamous Graceland estate.

Being in Nashville for CMA week really opened up my eyes into the country music realm and I was so glad to be a part of it. Somewhat of a newbie to the genre, what I saw this week were some of the most down-to-earth, appreciative and welcoming people in the business and it's so refreshing to see the stars so receptive and engaging with their fans. I just may have to make a yearly trip to Nashville from now on!

Annie Reuter is a freelance writer and music blogger who covers concerts and music festivals around the country. In constant pursuit of the next show to attend and band to interview, Annie keeps up her own music blog, You Sing, I Write, where you can read more on the latest up-and-coming bands.