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A Big Tourism Weekend for Tennessee

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  Bonnaroo and CMA’s Fan Fair are both underway, making for one of the biggest tourism weekends of the year for Middle Tennessee..

Sarah Raulerson is attending Bonnaroo for the first time. Sarah works with WMOT’s sister station WMTS.  Bonnaroo traffic is a perennial headache here in the Mid-State, but Sarah says she had little trouble getting to the festival.

“There’s not been much traffic. I didn’t run into any traffic on the way up here yesterday morning. I went into the toll booth and was parked within fifteen minutes.”

Sarah says Bonnaroo tickets were quite an investment, but also says she can already tell the weekend will be worth the price.

“It is an outrageous amount, but it’s not that bad considering who all you’re seeing. This is the one time that I get to see just about every band I’ve ever wanted to see.”

CMA Fan Fair announced yesterday that it’s evening concerts at LP Field have sold out. Show officials are scrambling to see if they can find more seats to make available Friday night.

Melanie Beauchamp with Tennessee Tourist Development says Fan Fair has a huge economic impact on the Mid-State.

“Last year alone CMA Fest resulted in $30 million in direct visitor spending and 120,000 room nights sold. All early indications this year point that it’s going to be even stronger “

There’s been some complaint that the two events are taking place on the same weekend, clogging Middle Tennessee’s roads and straining it’s infrastructure.  Beauchamp says there’s been some discussion of planning the events for consecutive weekends next year.

“You know there’s a little bit of crossover in terms of that demographic, so potentially we could have people come in for one event one weekend and stay in the state the whole week and then attend another.”

Beauchamp says Coffee County Officials say Bonnaroo’s impact has mushroomed from $46 million a decade ago to $65 million dollars this last year.

Mike Osborne is the News Director for WMOT and can be heard on-air daily.