The original Chet Atkins Fan Club was created in 1951 by Margaret Fields. The group helped promote Chet when he was just starting to get popular, and continued until 1962. From 1962 until 1983, Chet's fanbase around the world continued to grow, but there was no gathering point for his followers. In 1983, Jim Ferron and Mark Pritcher, with Chet's personal cooperation, started a new group with a different focus. Instead of a traditional fan club, they envisioned a society to honor Chet which would focus on his musical technique and body of work, and also his career legacy. As well, the concept would include Chet's guitar mentors and collaborators, such as Jerry Reed, Merle Travis, Lenny Breau, and Django Reinhart. With these ideas in mind, the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society was launched. The society's membership now includes many astute people from the music world - guitarists, both amateur and professional, songwriters, authors, performers, historians, producers, engineers, designers, sidemen, guitar makers, and just plain folks - brought together through Chet Atkins and his diverse interests and accomplishments.
Through 2000, Chet himself participated at the annual conventions, and his presence was welcomed and appreciated by all. Since his passing, we continue to keep his music alive and appreciate the many contributions he made to the guitar and the music of America. The society's president Dr. Mark Pritcher, along with a staff of dedicated volunteers, work to keep it running and growing. There are currently over 1000 worldwide members, and each summer, the CAAS welcomes attendees from all over the world to its annual convention at the Sheraton Music City Hotel in Nashville.