In less than a month, thousands of country fans will descend on downtown Nashville for the 2018 CMA Music Festival. This year, those in attendance will also be met with new safety guidelines meant to help keep the event secure.
According to the CMA Fest website, festival-goers may only carry clear bags made of plastic, vinyl or PVC that are smaller than 12" x 12" x 6". Fans may also bring a "small clutch bag or wallet no larger than 5.5" x 8.5"" onto the festival grounds.
These new rules imply that there will be stricter overall security around festival stages. In previous years, many of the free performances stages downtown had no mandatory security checkpoints for concertgoers.
In addition to the new bag policy, fans will no longer be able to go through photo lines at the front of the stage. During previous festivals, these lines allowed fans to walk past the stage during the show to take photos of the performers.
CMA Fest is following in the footsteps of other major festivals, like this weekend's Hangout Festival in Alabama, to increase security measures following the Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting on Oct. 1, 2017. 58 people died and over 500 more were injured when gunman Stephen Paddock began shooting from the window of the nearby Mandalay Bay hotel. It is now the deadliest mass shooting by an individual in U.S. history.
In the hours after the Route 91 attack, Country Music Association CEO Sarah Trahern released a joint statement with then Mayor Megan Barry and Butch Spyridon, CEO of Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp.
"Safety at all of our events is and will remain our top priority," the statement read. "We are constantly adjusting our event security measures year-round, partnering and consulting with experts at the federal, state and local levels through our full-time security team and the Metro Police Department. We will continue our efforts to provide the most comprehensive security possible."