During the 50th annual CMA Fest, BMI and Ryman Auditorium created a unique opportunity for 19 emerging artists to showcase their prominent talent during the three-day free event, “Ryman and BMI Block Party,” presented by RTIC. Between June 8th through June 10th, fans crowded around the outdoor stage on the PNC Plaza where they took in multiple sets and were offered photo opportunities, giveaways, food trucks and more through the event’s sponsors that included Mid-South Ford Dealers, New Belgium Brewing Company, ONErpm, Twisted Tea, ZYN and 103.3 Country.
BMI’s commitment to nurture and develop songwriters at the earliest stages of their career was on full display as the event kicked off on Thursday (6/8) with Matt Castillo, On The Outside, Mae Estes, Nate Kenyon and The Chattahoochies. Additionally, BMI’s VP of Creative, Nashville/BMI Foundation Board Member, Clay Bradley, presented The Dolly Parton Songwriters Award to its first-ever recipient, Macy Dot Neal, in honor of the legendary artist. The new program has helped establish The Dolly Parton Music Fund, which provides or supplements music programs in public schools, ensuring a new generation of music creators and a well-rounded education for all.
“Congratulations to Macy on receiving the BMI Scholarship this year! I know you are building quite a reputation as a songwriter as well as being a great singer and entertainer.” Dolly Parton added, “Songwriting for me has always been my first love and I have been with BMI since I published my first song as a very young girl. They have always been so supportive of me as well as all young writers that come to town. I want to thank BMI for their support of the songwriters’ award named in my honor. We all wish you the very best, Macy, and we look forward to hearing your songs throughout the years.”
The “Ryman and BMI Block Party,” presented by RTIC was highlighted by The Tennessean as one of the top stages to see “today’s top Country talent for free” as Friday’s (6/09) lineup included The Bennett Hall Band, Clayton Anderson, Dan Smalley, Neon Union, Trey Lewis, RVSHVD and Bryan Martin. The three-day festivities concluded on Saturday (6/10) with Jillian Steele, Angie K, Vincent Mason, Reid Haughton, Ella Langley, The Woods and Chapel Hart.
BMI celebrated the last day of CMA Fest on Sunday (6/11) with the Black Excellence Brunch held at the National Museum of African American Music, as BMI’s Executive Director of Creative, Nashville, Shannon Sanders, was honored for his impact on the city of Nashville and country music in particular. Community leaders and trailblazing artists such as Mickey Guyton, Shy Carter, K. Michelle and Willie Jones spoke about Sanders’ guidance and support throughout different stages of their careers.