Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Early June to bombard Nashville with traffic due to CMA Music Festival, Bonnaroo, Stanley Cup


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Photo courtesy of Flickr

Nashville undoubtedly serves as one of today’s hottest spots for tourists to set up temporary camp, and, for the most part, locals encourage their town’s exposure. However, how many people is just too many for a single city? Early June may very well push Nashville to its population limit as it serves three extremely demanding purposes, all within the same timeframe: home of the annual CMA Music Festival and Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival and, now with the Predators historic hockey run, Nashville will hold its very first Stanley Cup Finals.

With a schedule this busy, traffic jams are simply unavoidable. But the Tennessee Department of Transportation is prepared to accommodate any incidents that could delay traffic in Nashville and its surrounding areas.

“TDOT has runs of four traffic management centers: one in each of our major metropolitan areas (Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville and Chattanooga),” said Brad Freeze from TDOT’s Traffic Operations. “So, in Nashville, we’ll be making sure that we are covered with staff in those TMCs appropriately to handle the management of incidents in traffic during (CMA Fest, Bonnaroo and the Stanley Cup Finals).”

CMA Fest

This four-day country music festival offers several stages all along the heart of Nashville. Various country music artists are set to perform all hours of the day, going into nightly concerts held at Nissan Stadium.

According to the Country Music Association, CMA Fest hosted a “record-setting daily attendance of 88,500 fans” in 2016.

When: June 8-11

Where: Downtown Nashville

The CMT Music Awards traditionally serve as a kickoff to the festival’s activities. The award show is generally held at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, but due to conflicting schedules, the arena will house Nashville’s hockey team instead this year, forcing the award show to move to the Music City Center on June 7.


Bonnaroo is a four-day music and arts festival held annually to celebrate multiple music genres including pop, rock, hip hop, country and reggae. Each year, as many as 160,000 feet walk across the Manchester farm that is now known as Great Stage Park.

Though not held specifically in Nashville, Manchester neighbors Tennessee’s capital with only 64.9 miles separating the two.

“For Bonnaroo specifically, we provide traffic control,” Freeze said.

Chattanooga and Nashville traffic management centers will work together to ease Bonnaroo traffic.

“Our Chattanooga help program gets involved in traffic control (for Bonnaroo), and also our Nashville program (will) help stage traffic control and respond to instances during (the) event,” Freeze said.

When: June 8-11

Where: Great Stage Park

Stanley Cup Finals

For the first time in NHL history, the Nashville Predators have made it to the Stanley Cup Finals. In their quest to the cup, the Nashville Predators face the Pittsburgh Penguins, the reigning champions in early June.

The final series began Monday with a Penguins victory in Pittsburgh. The Predators remain on the road for tomorrow’s game but will bring the competition back to Nashville for the next two games.

Regardless of home or away games, drivers can count on thousands of fans showering the city with support of Nashville’s hometown team.


May 29- Game 1 (Pittsburgh)

May 31- Game 2 (Pittsburgh)

June 3- Game 3 (Nashville)

June 5- Game 4 (Nashville)

If necessary:

June 8- Game 5 (Pittsburgh)

June 11- Game 6 (Nashville)

June 14- Game 7 (Pittsburgh)

Where: Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena/Pittsburgh’s PPG Paints Arena

“We are prepared for the influx in traffic, so we (will) work additional hours in our TMC operator positions,” Freeze said.

Follow Tayhlor Stephenson on Twitter at @tayhlor_s. 

To contact News Editor Andrew Wigdor, email newseditor@mtsusidelines.com.

For more news, follow us at www.mtsusidelines.com, on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines and on Twitter at @Sidelines_News.

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