Every year since 1972, Nashville, Tennessee has hosted the CMA Music Festival (formerly known as Fan Fair). Country music fans from all over the world immerse themselves in 4 days of concerts, autograph signings and fan club parties. This year, June 8-11,2017, was no different as big stars such as Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Florida Georgia Line and Blake Shelton performed nightly for fans at Nissan Stadium while other up and coming artists performed at various stages across the city throughout the days.
Autograph seekers filled the convention center hoping to snag that beloved autograph from one of their favorite artists at one of the hundreds of opportunities available while Fan club parties also draw many to the CMA Festival. Many artists and bands hold their annual Fan Club parties for their loyal members during the festival giving them the chance to engage in a more intimate experience with their favorites through acoustic shows, giveaways, souvenir gifts, Q and A sessions and more. While many of these fan club parties could cost a fan up to $150 to attend, some artists provide their fans a party for free.
This year, like every year before, Love and Theft, consisting of Stephen Barker Liles and Eric Gunderson, along with faithful “Thefthead” leader Candice Orlandi planned and executed a fan party like none other and the only price of admission was active promoting of everyone’s favorite band Love and Theft over social media and in person at special events and concerts over the past year. The party was held at Winners Bar in Nashville and was an invite only event starting with Eric and Stephen welcoming each attendee at the door with a smile, hug and a welcome.
As a frequent attendee of fan club parties, this was the first time I experienced the actual artists welcoming the fans into their own party in this way, and the fun and excitement started from the moment you walked in the door. Attendees were showered with souvenir merchandise and raffle tickets to win even more Love and Theft prizes and then the guys took the stage for a very intimate acoustic show where they belted out all of their singles and hits such as “Angel Eyes”, “Night That You’ll Never Forget”, “Runaway”, “Candyland”, “Dancing in Circles” , and added in some fan requests of “Tan Lines”, “Everybody Drives Drunk”, and “Let’s Get Drunk and Make Friends”.
Throughout the party Stephen and Eric paused to draw numbers to give away fun Love and Theft prizes which included an autographed guitar strap and an autographed giant album cover. They also brought in some friends to entertain throughout the party to include Elvis Monroe and up and coming artists Jordan Mallory and Dakota Bradley as well as singer/songwriter Tyler Reeve who co-wrote Brett Young’s latest hit “In Case You Didn’t Know”. The guys shared stories and answered questions including exciting news of the birth of Stephen’s baby girl the night before and celebrating Eric’s sobriety for over 2 years.
The party concluded with performances of their latest single “Love Wins” and a song near and dear to their hearts “Whiskey on My Breath”, a group picture of all attendees and individual meet and greets for pictures and autographs. This party was hands down one of the best fan club parties I have attended. Over 3 hours of nonstop entertainment full of music, laughter, stories and true appreciation for their fans is what sets Love and Theft apart from other artists. It’s the little things such as parties like these just for the fans who took a little extra time out of their days to spread the amazing music from their favorite band that puts Love and Theft’s “Thefthead” party at the top of every country music lovers ‘must do’ list.
Love and Theft is a duo that can’t be stopped so head on over to iTunes and pick up “Love Wins” as well as all of their other amazing music and keep up with them on all of their social media sites. Join the “Thefthead” family and perhaps we will see you at the party next year.
Find Love and Theft here:
Instagram: @thegunderson (Eric)
Instagram: @theftheads (Official fan club)
Twitter: @Theftheads_ (Official fan club)