BUENA PARK, Calif.—This year’s CMA Music Festival took place June 6-9 in Nashville’s Riverfront Park, with Morris Light & Sound (Nashville) handling audio production for the event’s largest outdoor free stage with one of the biggest opening day crowds on record of 44,000. More than 162,000 fans passed through the gates to watch performances at the Chevroletâ„¢ Riverfront Stage, outfitted with the new NEXO STM line array, PS15s, RS18 Ray Subs, 4×4 NXAmps, 45 N-12 line monitors, Yamaha CL5 digital consoles and Rio3224 input/output boxes all connected via a Dante network.
With nearly 50 artists performing, the Chevrolet Riverfront Stage was the hot spot for the daily concerts that took place over five days in downtown Nashville. The stage kicked off on Wednesday with the Block Party concert featuring headliner, Joe Diffie. Thursday was a full day of performances that began with a high energy show from CMA Award-winning recording artist Sara Evans followed by performances from Keith Anderson, Greg Bates, Blackberry Smoke, Craig Campbell, Mark Chesnutt, Brett Eldredge, Rachel Farley, Tyler Farr, Colt Ford, Gloriana, The Grascals, Steve Holy, Casey James, Kristen Kelly, Aaron Lewis, Lonestar, Love and Theft, Dustin Lynch, Jo Dee Messina, Ronnie Milsap, Craig Morgan, David Nail, Joe Nichols, Jerrod Niemann, Paslay, Maggie Rose, Corey Smith, Tate Stevens, Sunny Sweeney, Phil Vassar, Chuck Wicks, Gretchen Wilson, and Darryl Worley.
Eric Elwell mixed front of house for Joe Nichols and said, “I was really looking forward to an opportunity to drive the new NEXO STM rig. My good friends, David Haskell and John Mills at Morris Light & Sound, have ears I trust implicitly, and I’ve always had fantastic experiences with NEXO, so when they showed me the rig and the design behind it, I couldn’t wait to mix on it. Wow! It’s detailed, but not in a hard or hyped-kind of way. It felt like an F1 racecar… just so responsive. I worked there on the second day at the River Stage, and by then the Yamaha/NEXO team really had the rig singing. It was fantastic, with rich warmth and detail all the way to the top of the hill! Very hi-fi, which I love.”
“I was very impressed with the consistency of the definition of all the vocals, even with all the different engineers that mixed over the course of the four days,” states David Haskell, President, Morris Light & Sound.
Elwell also said he used the new Yamaha CL5 digital console once before, subbing for a friend on a tour last fall. “I was impressed then by the purity and clarity. The mic pre’s are fantastic, and the plug-ins give you everything you need to add ‘a little something’ extra. On the Joe Nichols mix for CMA Fest, I got to use the Rupert Neve Design Portico 5043 compressor across the stereo buss just to add that final “glue” to the mix. The sounds of the plug-ins are just like the real hardware I’ve used in the studio… glorious!”
Russell Fischer, freelance monitor and FOH engineer who has mixed front of house for Taylor Swift, The Mavericks and Toby Keith, to name a few, mixed monitors for several different bands at the Chevrolet Riverfront Stage, said he liked working on the Yamaha CL5 in this large festival situation. “I like the flexibility and ease of use of the Custom Fader Banks; it made for very quick navigation of critical inputs during the festival at the monitor mix position. Also, I found the Premium Rack devices very useful.”
For more information on the CMA Festival, visit
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For more information on the NEXO STM and Yamaha CL5, visit
PHOTO ID: Eric Elwell
About Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc.:
Celebrating 125 years of Passion and Performance, and 25 years in the manufacturer of high quality digital audio consoles, Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc. (YCAS) provides a full line of integrated professional audio products offering complete systems solutions for the broadcast, sound reinforcement/installed sound, touring, commercial recording, and post production markets. With the addition of NEXO to the product line, the company remains the official U.S. and Canadian distributor for all NEXO speaker models. YCAS offers comprehensive in-house and field product training for its customers, a dedicated dealer network, and 24/7 technical support.