Experience Country Music's Biggest Night

Nashville celebrated country music’s biggest night with the 52nd Annual CMA Awards on November 14th. For the 11th time, the awards were hosted by country superstars Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood. Hundreds of people flocked downtown for the awards, even though the weather was cold and rainy. On the morning of the awards, tickets were selling on StubHub for thousands of dollars, but many Belmont University students got to attend the awards for free, and I was one of them!

Hey guys! It’s Jamie and this week we are talking about what it is like to be an audience member in the most pit and a talent seat filler for country music’s biggest night. About a week before the CMA Awards, many Belmont students received an email from Audience Company Nashville inviting them to the CMA Awards as a mosh audience member. While you can buy a ticket for these awards, the best seats in the house cannot be bought.

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The awards air on TV, so it is all about how it looks on TV. Audience Company Nashville selects different people in the Nashville area to be talent seat fillers and mosh audience members. As a talent seat filler, an audience team member will place you in a seat in the first few rows, when an artist or family member gets up. If an artist gets up to go backstage to get ready for their performance and the camera scans to that artist's seat and it is empty it looks bad on TV, so that is why there are talent seat fillers. As a seat filler, you could be sitting in the front row next to some of your favorite country artists and luckily for you if an artist does not return that is your seat for the whole show! Audience Company Nashville also sends invites to people to be mosh audience members. As a mosh audience member you get to stand on the floor during the awards by the backstage or in the pit of the front stage. Because there are so many artists performing, there are two stages. Without the mosh audience members, there would be no excitement in performances. Mosh members stand in front of the stages in the front and back watching the performances and interacting with the artists while they are singing.

I, unfortunately, was not a talent seat filler, but I was lucky enough to get to be a mosh audience member! This was my second time attending the CMA Awards through Belmont University and Audience Company Nashville. I was excited to be in attendance. It was raining the night of the awards and extremely cold, and as a member on the floor you cannot have coats or umbrellas. My roommate and I cut garbage bags to protect us from the rain as we ran into the arena. The night before, we attended a rehearsal meeting where we received our wristbands which were our tickets for the night. They also went over all the rules and what our roles would be for the next day. When we arrived, we walked right onto the floor. We were placed in the front row next to the stage in the back of the arena. It was about 5:45PM and we were to stand here until the end of the show which was at 10PM.

As I was waiting for the show to start, someone from the Audience Company Nashville, came up to me and invited me to move to the mosh pit in the front of the stage. I immediately said yes! I was excited to experience the show from the front of the arena this year. To get to the pit you must walk up the stairs of the stage and to the middle of the stage. The mosh pit is amazing, and you have a great view of the whole show. All the artists are right behind you and right in front of you is the stage. There are two pits on the stage separated by the middle walkway. On my side, we were able to be in the front row for Jason Aldean with Miranda Lambert, Kelsea Ballerini, The Pistol Annies, Chris Stapleton with Maren Morris, Kacey Musgraves, and Midland.

Being in the front is an experience like no other! It is incredible to be so close to some of country music’s biggest stars. Commercial breaks were one of my favorite things. As soon as the camera cuts to commercial, all the artists get up and interact with each other. It is fun to watch different artists interact with each other, taking pictures and hanging out. Also, the production staff from Audience Company Nashville is working to get seat fillers in seats. It’s amazing to see all the work that goes into this awards show. These are things you do not see or think about when you are watching the show from your couch.

Not only did I get to attend the awards, but they also invited me to rehearsals! The Monday before the awards, I went to Bridgestone Arena and watched Thomas Rhett and Old Dominion rehearse their numbers for the awards that week. I really enjoyed getting to do something that most people do not get to do. There were about 100 people at the rehearsal and we were all able to stand in front of the stage and watch both acts rehearse.

If you ever get a chance to attend the CMA Awards or even rehearsals, do not even question it. GO! You will have an amazing time! That’s all for this week!

 

~Jamie

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