Thousands travel near and far for country music's biggest party of the year

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NASHVILLE, Tn. (WBKO) -- Country music fans have officially migrated south to Nashville for Country Music Festival 2019.

Thousands of people are in the city for the next few days for the biggest country music party of the year.

"CMA Fest is like Christmas everyday," said Ryan Cummings, a country music fan from New York.

They don't call it "Music City" for nothing.

"Like the environment, it's pretty cool," said Grace Carey, a fan from Philadelphia.

Fans from all over the country and world are taking over downtown Nashville.

"It's insane," said Carey.

Broadway was bustling earlier than normal as fans took the streets for free swag and honky-tonk music to kick off the first day.

"Country music, beers, good times," summed up Connor Greene, a country music fan from New York.

During the day, stages are planted all across downtown where fans can take in the free music.

"I mean, bringing all the country music fans together in one spot is so much fun. There's so much energy here," said Ashlin Bohl, a local fan.

Fans can even move indoors for the ultimate fan experience at Fan Fair X for meet-and-greets with their favorite artists, such as Kentucky's own Eddie Montgomery of Montgomery Gentry. One fan even can came hundreds of miles just to meet him.

"He was so polite, so sweet," said one superfan from Iowa.

Fan Fair X consists of small intimate performances and Q & A's with country music's biggest legends like Trisha Yearwood.

That wraps day one of CMA Fest 2019. Tonight's big concert at Nissan Stadium is a ticketed event. Thursday, Florida Georgia Line, Kelsea Ballerini, Rascal Flatts and others will take the stage.

CMA Fest continues through Sunday.

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