Sunday night, a co-worker and I walked up to Starbucks to grab a coffee before we started our last night of CMA Fest work. We met a couple of young women also going for coffee before heading to LP Field for the final night of concerts. The girls asked us if we hated the week and all the people converging on the city. Without missing a beat, we both went, “No! We love it!”
And its true. We do.
Oh I stress over parking and the fact that so many roads are closed downtown. I worry we’ll get overwhelmed and not be able to handle the volume of drinkers. I grumble a bit that I have to leave a minimum of 10 minutes early to get anywhere on time. But deep down, I love it.
I love showing off my city. I love music, and I love seeing others love music. Tourists in town for CMA Fest are also some of the most amusing to people watch. Oh, don’t think of us as mean for that! You, too, you chuckle if people came to your town and tried to “dress the part” and overshot in their mission. Think Marty McFly in Back to the Future III only with glitter. Lots and lots of glitter.
The money brought in from out of town is also wonderful. The music is what keeps this city alive. (And its too bad many don’t realize that. Its a rant for another day.) Country music fans coming in from all around the world in that one week keep this city afloat year-to-year. And for that, I am forever grateful.
But more than all of that… ALL of that… I love the people. I have people I consider dear friends all over the country — all over the world! — that I may only see once a year, but who are still dear souls to me in my heart. I look forward to see them year after year, getting to catch up and laugh and hug tightly. I joked I’ve been doing this a long time when I can tell you what a bunch of Australians I see once a year drink without hesitation. But I could! And let me tell you, Australians are some of my favorite “tourists” ever.
Another year is in the books, and I am already looking forward to next year!