The annual Country Music Association (CMA) Fest takes place in Nashville, Tennessee. 

As any festival goer can attest to, once you leave the house or hotel for the day that’s it, there’s no going back.

CMA Fest 2019 is the same, as there are four days jammed with plenty to do and fans who don’t want to miss anything. And with each day being a full day of live entertainment, free activities and a checklist of spots to hit up, the festivities can be pretty overwhelming.

So, for those who have attended plenty of festivals before and for those who will be attending their first festival, it’s a good idea to have a checklist of everything you could possibly need while you’re enjoying the hot, summer days of CMA Fest 2019.

Knowing the rules

CMA Fest 2019 has a detailed list of FAQs, including what items are allowed and prohibited at each location during the event.

Like many other festivals, arenas and stadiums, CMA Fest 2019 is initiating a clear bag policy with bags that don’t exceed 12 in. by 12 in. by 6 in. parameters. In addition to the clear bag, a small clutch or wallet that is no bigger than 5.5 in. by 8.5 in. is also allowed. Any other bag is prohibited with the exception of medically necessary items after they are properly inspected.

Plastic water bottles are permitted in certain locations at CMA Fest, but stainless steel or glass water bottles will not be allowed.

At any of the outdoor, daytime stages including Riverfront stage, Forever Country stage, the Breakout stage and the Broadway stage, as well as the Xfinity Fan Fair X, one factory-sealed clear plastic water bottle or one empty clear plastic container to be filled at the water refill stations are allowed.

For Nissan Stadium, patrons can bring one empty disposable clear soft plastic water bottle that can be filled at the water fountains within the stadium, while at Ascend Amphitheatre does not allow refillable plastic water bottles only one factory-sealed clear plastic bottle that is 20 oz or less.

The list for prohibited items includes around 40 points of items that will not be allowed including aerosol containers of any kind, animals (unless they are service animals), balls, bikes, cameras with detachable lens and camera attachments like tripods and selfie sticks, chairs of any kind, coolers, drones, drugs of any kind, E-Cigarettes, any weapons, fireworks, flags, frisbees and projectiles, hammocks, helium balloons, infant car seats, inflatables of any kind, laser pointers and lights, noisemakers, alcohol, outside food and beverages, poles, scooters, seat cushions, skateboards, rollerblades or hoverboards, strollers at night time venues, umbrellas, recording devices of any kind, wagons or pull-carts, walkie-talkies and any other item that is deemed disruptive or dangerous by the Event Management team.

Lastly, Nissan Stadium has a ‘No Smoking’ policy that will be strictly enforced throughout the events.

Keeping up with your valuables

Large crowds can mean that it's easy to lose valuables within a blink of an eye. If you will be carrying one of the clear bags with you, make sure to store your belongs towards the bottom of the bag and on the inner side so it is pressed against you while also placing a towel or jacket on top to conceal the bottom. Also try to carry the bag in front of your body, with your arm securely over the top.

To avoid losing anything, minimize what you’ll be carrying with you down to one card, some cash and one ID in your wallet. If you’re wallet has a way to attach itself to the handle of your bag, consider using a zip tie or rope to secure it to the bag, making it harder to accidentally drop and lose track of it.

If you won’t be using a bag, keep all your valuables in your front pockets or buttoned pockets to secure them to yourself.

The best option to is to simply be aware that there may be pickpockets, and to take moments throughout the day to step to a more private location to check that all your belongings are in place.

Protection from the sun

One absolute item that should be at the top of your list should be sun protection.

While there are plenty of opportunities to slip inside into the cool sanctuary of air conditioning like the Xfinity Fan Fair X inside the Music City Center, fans will spend a lot of time outside either at the outdoor stages, walking down Broadway and experiencing Fan Alley or even just grabbing a bite at the Eats N’ Beats location with food trucks standing under the sun.

The best protection against the sun is sunscreen, and while aerosol cans are prohibited, plain old lotion sunscreen will still do the trick.

Another key to keeping from getting your face burnt is to bring a hat and sunglasses. While a hat may provide some shading, it also helps to protect your eyes from the harmful UV-A and UV-B rays which according to can cause damage to your central vision, while also possibly leading to macular degeneration, cataracts, pterygium, skin cancer or corneal sunburn.

Staying hydrated

While festivals are fun, there are plenty of factors that can lead to heat stroke including exposure to hot environments, strenuous activity, wearing excessive clothing, drinking too much alcohol and dehydration according to the Mayo Clinic.

To help avoid against heat stroke, make sure to carry a reusable water bottle with you that you can fill up at the water refill locations throughout downtown Nashville. There are three locations on Broadway: the first is between First Avenue and Second Avenue, the next is between Second Avenue and Third Avenue and the last one is between Third Avenue and Fourth Avenue.

The next location is at Riverfront Park near the main entrance at the intersection of Broadway and First Avenue, and another water refill station in Walk of Fame Park.

Nissan Stadium will have multiple water fountains where patrons can refill their water bottles including the Main Level sections: 114, 115, 117, 118, 123, 129, 130, 132, 133, 137, 138, 140 and 141; Club Level sections 210, 215, 232 and 237; and in these Upper Level sections 305, 306, 307, 310, 312, 314, 315, 317, 318, 319, 328, 329, 330, 332, 333, 335, 337, 340, 341 and 342.

Water vendors will also be selling water bottles for $2 throughout downtown, with the proceedings going to the CMA Foundation to benefit music education.

Keeping comfy

While no seats and cushions are allowed on site, patrons can bring towels and blankets to relax on the ground at the outdoor stages.

And while festivals are a great time to show off your sense of fashion, opting for more comfy clothing items could help you to withstand the day longer. Instead of trying to break in a new pair of stiff cowboy boots, opt for tennis shoes which provide more structural support and relief for your feet.

With the forecast looking to continue with the rising heat, wearing lighter clothes is also a great way to stay comfy. Avoid wearing darker colors as they absorb sunlight and pick lighter materials like cotton to let you breath in the heat.

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