Paul and Linda McCartney in Nashville, 1974
Photo By Skip Comer
The following article is presented courtesy of the Country Music Association
The first Fan Fair, held April 12-15, 1972, at Nashville’s Municipal Auditorium, hosted some of Country Music’s most noted artists who performed more than 20 hours of live entertainment. Featured artists included Roy Acuff, Loretta Lynn, Tom T. Hall, Freddie Hart, Nat Stuckey, Billy “Crash” Craddock, Ernest Tubb, Del Wood, Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper and Pee Wee King, among others. Approximately 5,000 people attended the first Fan Fair. With more than 100 exhibit booths, fans could indulge in picture taking and autograph sessions with the artists. The Odessa Chuck Wagon Gang of Odessa, Texas, served up their “Texas Menu” of barbecue, beans, slaw, onions, pickles, bread and beverages.
The first Fan Fair was scarcely started before fans and artists began inquiring about the date for the next year. Fan Fair 1973 was moved to June, a peak travel month, which provided better weather conditions than April. Just over 10,000 fans – twice as many as the first year – attended.
Fans in attendance at Fan Fair 1974 witnessed Country Music history as Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton performed as a duo for what would be the last time in more than a decade. The festivities were also highlighted by an unexpected visit by former Beatle and Country Music fan Paul McCartney, a visit that would spark a tradition of cross-genre artist appearances at the festival.