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You probably gave up on your dreams of becoming a famous country music star a long time ago, but now you have a new chance to prove you have what it takes to make it big in Music City. Well, sort of. CMT will host the first multi-artist Country Music Fantasy Camp in Nashville, Tennessee, May 21 – 25, 2009. 


The CMT Camp Nashville has attracted big-name country music stars such as Phil Vassar, Lady Antebellum, Ronnie Milsap, John Rich, Darryl Worley, Andy Griggs, Bo Bice, Rhett Akins, Deana Carter, Jessica Harp, and Henry Paul, who will serve as teachers and mentors. 


At a recent press conference at the Gibson Showroom, CMT Top 20 Countdown host Lance Smith said, “Campers young and old will get to live the life of a country star, and of course, they’ll still keep their day jobs. Roadies will throw their bags and gear into the bay of a well stocked, fancy-schmancy tour bus, and they will be comfortably whisked off to the beautiful boutique hotel, Hotel Indigo.” 


“This camp is not just for aspiring stars and people with talent,” continued Smith. “If you love Country Music and you can’t play a thing but a cowbell, we want you to be there and bring your bell.” 


Other stars in the crowd were Bo Bice, Rhett Akins, Henry Paul, and Daryl Worley. American Idol runner-up Bo Bice gave his reasons for signing up as a camp “counselor.” “I was really interested in doing this myself, starting a school that had to do with not just learning the guitar, piano, and vocals, but how to record. I have my own record label now, my own recording studio. It’s really something that once you know how to do that kind of stuff, the sky’s the limit.” 


Hopefully, the camp will teach participants the finer points of the business, but campers should, above all, be prepared to have a good time. “I’m sure for the participants, they’ll be nervous and they’ll take it serious,” said Henry Paul of BlackHawk and The Outlaws. Even though he expected the camp to be “frivolous and fun,” he defended campers whose friends might give them a hard time for going to a country music fantasy camp. “Life has a way of becoming something specific to people in certain circumstances that others looking in from the outside might not appreciate. I think for these people, it has a lot of importance in it, and I think they’re going to enjoy it.” 


Paul knows that many campers might be nervous performing on stage, but he said, “I think if they concentrate on what’s important and just try to have fun, they can live and learn to look back and just cherish this.” 


The camp will simulate the experience of being famous in a number of ways, and that extends far beyond practicing, performing, and recording. To get the full experience of fame in this internet savvy age, campers will regularly update their online profiles and keep a fan base. The camper with the largest fan base at the end will have their camp fees reimbursed. 


The camp will culminate with a Final Showdown, where all the artists will compete at the Wildhorse Saloon before Lady Antebellum and Phil Vassar take the stage for a ticketed concert. 


“This camp is about giving one hundred everyday, ordinary country fans the chance to experience their inner star. Everybody has an inner star,” said Lance Smith, pointing to the country music legends-in-the-making on the stage behind him, “and these guys found theirs and made it happen.” Thanks to CMT Camp  Nashville, now you can make your country music dreams a reality too—if only for a week. 


The first twenty campers to register will receive a free Gibson guitar, courtesy of CMT. One hundred campers can register on a first-come, first-serve basis online at or by calling (615) 254-2315. The price of the camp is $7,999 (or $1,000 more for the couples package), and campers have the choice of purchasing the hotel package ($8,500). 


Check out Bo Bice at and see what Henry Paul has been up to lately at / Issue 96 - September 2018
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