Saturday, June 30, 2007

"CMA Music Festival: Country's Night To Rock"

More Artists Announced For "CMA Music Festival: Country's Night To Rock" On the ABC Television Network Monday, July 23

Additional Performers Include Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, and Taylor Swift
Two-Time “Dancing with the Stars” Champion Cheryl Burke, Dierks Bentley, Brooks & Dunn, George Jones, and Kellie Pickler Appear in Story Segments

NASHVILLE – The Country Music Association turns up the heat this summer with sizzling concert performances and heart-warming stories featuring some of Country Music’s hottest stars on “CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock” – a two-hour network primetime special airing Monday, July 23 (9:00-11:00 PM/ET), on the ABC Television Network.
Filmed in Nashville during the legendary CMA Music Festival, which began as Fan Fair® in 1972, the special features performances by Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town and Taylor Swift. Previously announced performers include Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, Big & Rich, Brooks & Dunn, Sara Evans, Martina McBride, Brad Paisley, Kellie Pickler, Rascal Flatts, LeAnn Rimes, Sugarland, Josh Turner, Carrie Underwood, and Reba McEntire in a duet with “American Idol” Kelly Clarkson.

“The artist lineup at this year’s CMA Music Festival was amazing and the TV special captures the diversity, talent and top-notch concert production that have made these artists fan favorites from coast-to-coast,” said Tammy Genovese, CMA Chief Operating Officer. “This time, everyone has a front row seat for some of the hottest performances of the summer!”
In addition, the special captures the heart of CMA Music Festival, which is the unique bond between Country Music artists and their fans. Taped exclusively for the special, the cameras follow the stories of several Festival attendees who had their dreams realized when they were granted surprise, personal encounters with their favorite Country Music stars.

A former “American Idol” finalist who is now one of Country Music’s fastest rising stars, Kellie Pickler knows what it’s like to have a dream come true and she shared that experience with Kellie McFarland, 19, a diehard Country Music fan who has dreams of running her own record label. Pickler paid a surprise visit at McFarland’s Nashville home and took the aspiring record executive on a tour of her record label. The uber fan got the star treatment and experienced what it is like to live like a Country Music star as she and two friends, Tyler Rider, 20, and Melissa Montgomery, 21, hung out with Pickler and were granted an all-access pass to the event.

Nashville media were buzzing when word leaked during the Festival that Brooks & Dunn would take it back to their road-house roots with an unannounced club concert for their grittiest fans at The Stage. The story began with a local radio DJ announcing the news of the impromptu honky tonk concert and the result was pandemonium as 3,000 fans clogged the streets for a glimpse of the most awarded duo in CMA Awards history. Overwhelmed and moved by their loyal fan base, Ronnie Dunn and Kix Brooks returned the devotion, performing for the packed house, posing for photos and signing autographs well into the night.

Karmela Kondra, 21, Andy Dufort, 23, and Stacey Zurburg, 27, from Calgary, Alberta, and Mike Boyenko, 27, from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, were a group of friends that journeyed to Music City for four days of music and fun, but they got a whole lot more when Dierks Bentley greeted them outside their hotel. Bentley ended up taking them on a tour of Nashville including the Fan Fair Exhibit Hall and the Country Music Hall of Fame, where they met Hall of Fame legend George Jones, and experienced a day in the life of a busy Country star.
Two-time winner of ABC TV’s “Dancing with the Stars” Cheryl Burke had a tough assignment – search through 50,000 screaming, singing, dance-till-dawn concert goers to find the biggest Country Music fans at CMA Music Festival. Once she zeroed in on her picks, she sprung the news that this was they “Lucky Day” and they would be granted backstage meet and greets with their favorite stars.

Sisters Alexa, 13, and Hannah Borroel, 17, of Santa Ynez, Calif., and Melissa Greenfield, 17, of Nashville, Tenn., met on Sugarland’s fan web site and then met in person at the Festival, where Burke found them and introduced them to their idols before the duo performed at LP Field. Anna Menghart, 23, and Crystal Cobb, 22, both of Little Rock, Ark., had a backstage meeting with Rascal Flatts. And singer LeAnn Rimes was delighted to meet three of her biggest fans, Tyler Anderson, 19, of Lafayette, La., Claire Gremillion, 18, of Youngsville, La., and Jewel Hicks, 17, of Welsh, La., at her tour bus.

“The relationship between the artists and their fans has been the cornerstone of this event for 36 years,” said Genovese. “The story segments in the special communicate the loyalty, admiration and dedication between them.”

The CMA Music Festival network television special first aired in 2004. This marks the third consecutive year the special will air on ABC. “CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock” is a CMA production. Robert Deaton is the executive producer, and Gary Halvorson is the director. The special was shot in high definition and will be broadcast in 720 Progressive (720P), ABC’s selected HDTV format, with 5.1 channel surround sound.

The annual CMA Music Festival is unlike any other, taking place over four days and featuring more than 100 hours of concert performances, 30 hours of autograph signings with more than 400 artists and celebrities participating. The 2007 CMA Music Festival was the biggest in history with more than 191,000 attendees representing every state and 21 foreign countries.
2008 CMA Music Festival will take place Thursday through Sunday, June 5-8, in Downtown Nashville, and tickets are selling fast. Music enthusiasts, who want to experience the excitement of the Festival firsthand, can order tickets by calling 1-800-CMA-FEST (262-3378); visiting to download an order form to fax or mail; or visiting to buy online or charge-by-phone at (615) 255-9600. Prices do not include applicable handling fees. Ticket prices are subject to change without notice. All sales are final and non-refundable. Children 3 years and younger are admitted free.

For up-to-the-minute information about tickets, travel information, schedules, artists appearing at 2008 CMA Music Festival and more, visit and sign up for CMA Exclusive, a periodic e-newsletter with exciting artist features and Country Music news.

CMA Music Festival is organized and produced by the Country Music Association. CMA Board member Tony Conway is the Executive Producer of CMA Music Festival. Premiere Radio Networks is the official radio broadcaster. Chevy: The Official Ride of Country Music. Fan Fair® is a registered trademark of CMA.

Saturday, January 27, 2007


MAYOR BLOOMBERG PRESENTS $57.1 BILLION FY 2008 PRELIMINARY BUDGET Plan Would Deliver $1 Billion in Tax Cuts While Putting Aside $500 Million for Retiree Health Benefits and $1.4 Billion to Help Reduce FY 2009 Budget Gap

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced his Fiscal Year (FY) 2008 Preliminary Budget and presented the four-year financial plan for New York City. The $57.1 billion budget delivers $1 billion in tax relief to New Yorkers while maintaining the City’s firm financial footing in the near-term, puts aside an additional $500 million in the Retiree Health Benefits Trust Fund created last January, and uses $1.4 billion in one-time resources to help reduce the FY 2009 budget gap. The Preliminary Ten-Year Capital Plan accompanying the budget identifies critical investments which the City must make to remain the best place in the world to live, work and do business. It extends the five-year, $13 billion school capital construction plan, for which the City won $6.5 billion from Albany last spring, at the same level of annual commitment through 2017.

“Because of our strong economy, tax revenues are running higher than expected this year. That’s good budgetary news, including $1 billion in tax cuts for the people of New York City,” Mayor Bloomberg said. “If conditions permit, we’ll propose extending that tax cut in the future. But with slower job growth and other indications of economic uncertainty on the horizon, it’s wiser to take a wait-and-see approach, while also putting $500 million more into our Retiree Health Benefits Trust Fund and using $1.4 billion to close the expected budget deficit in 2009.”
Continued Economic Growth:New York City’s economy continues to strengthen in the near term and jobs are being created throughout the City. The Administration’s Five Borough economic development strategy has helped push unemployment to its lowest levels ever in 2006, with an annual unemployment rate of 5.0%. New York City has added 124,00 private sector jobs since 2003; the City’s leisure and hospitality sectors alone created 8,000 new jobs in 2006, and are expected to continue expanding. In 2006, wage earnings far exceeded those of the 2001 peak and the securities sector bonus pool topped $25 billion in 2006, by far the highest level ever. But while Wall Street profits are estimated at $16.8 billion in 2006, forecasts predict profits closer to $14 billion in 2007, with significant softening in 2008.

Tax Relief:Because of New York City’s strong economy, tax revenues are running higher than expected, with an anticipated surplus of $3.9 billion in FY 2007. As the Mayor first announced in last week’s State of the City address, he intends to return $1 billion to the people of New York City in cuts to business, sales, and property taxes. Some $750 million of this tax relief will come as a temporary, one-year property tax rate reduction, which would come in addition to the extended $400 property tax rebates for homeowners (which total $256 million a year). In addition, the Mayor outlined $250 million in proposed permanent tax cuts for families and small businesses: $140 million in sales tax relief by eliminating City sales taxes on all clothing and shoes, and $110 million in five job-creating tax breaks for small businesses and S-corporations in New York City.

Retiree Health Benefits Trust Fund:Last January, the Mayor announced that New York City will set aside $1 billion in both FY ’06 and ’07 to establish a trust to fund a portion of its liability for the benefits of its current and future retirees. Today, he announced that he will place another $500 million in this trust fund, for a total of $2.5 billion. The fund will provide long-term budget stability for the City. Government Accounting Standards Board rules require state and local governments to report their obligations on retiree health insurance. New York has exceeded that standard by not only reporting the total liability it faces, but also putting funds aside toward this future liability. Deposits into the trust are irrevocable and all money deposited into the trust must be used to pay the costs of retiree health care benefits in future years.

Out-Year Gaps - $1.4 Billion to Reduce FY 2009 Gap:While the City’s economy is booming today, good times do not last forever, and New York City is familiar with the negative effects of fiscal downturns. Facing multi-billion dollar budget gaps in the out-years of the plan (FY2009 – FY2011), Mayor Bloomberg emphasized that this is no time to be squandering our good fortune on unsustainable spending increases. The FY 2008 Preliminary Budget therefore uses $1.4 billion in one-time resources to help reduce the FY 2009 budget gap.

Ten-Year Capital Plan – Expansion of School Capital Program and Lower Manhattan Security Initiative:The City’s preliminary ten-year capital strategy is focused on education and economic development. Over 37% of the $77 billion capital plan between FY2008 and FY2017 will be spent on educational facilities. The Administration’s plan assumes that New York State continues to fund 50% of the capital plan of the Department of Education, as it currently does. In addition, the City is making vital economic development investments in the Hudson Yards area of Manhattan, the Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn, and in projects large and small Citywide. The capital plan also includes an initial City investment of $15 million in the Lower Manhattan Security Initiative that will help safeguard bridges, tunnels, and infrastructure as well as everyone who lives, works, and does business downtown. The Administration expects the Federal government to invest $10 million in the first stages of this project, which is essential to protecting our nation’s financial center.

State and Federal Aid:While New York City is not specifically requesting budget gap closing items from the State or Federal governments for FY 2008 in this plan, the Administration does still have important fiscal issues and budget gaps in future years that require State and Federal assistance to close. This budget plan relies on significant State funding for education. At the Federal level, the City would greatly benefit from additional flexibility in many areas, including community development and homeland security, as well as more funding for World Trade Center health and compensation programs.MEDIA CONTACT: Stu Loeser / John Gallagher (212) 788-2958