Chet Atkins Appreciation Society



The CAAS Convention is held each year in mid-July at the Music City Sheraton Hotel and Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Attendees enjoy four fully-packed days and nights of the music of Chet, along with learning, jamming, and just hanging out. The styles you'll hear range from gypsy jazz in the style of Django Reinhart - through classical, pop, and country - to the music of Merle Travis and Jerry Reed, a musical legacy spanning six decades. Along with Chet's memorable legacy, you'll experience the music of those he has influenced, now taking his music and their own all over the world. The performers at the convention are a virtual Who's Who of the guitar world. Past conventions have featured appearances by such greats as Jerry Reed, Earl Klugh, Steve Wariner, Albert Lee, Brent Mason, Tommy Emmanuel, Paul Yandell, Doc Watson, Mark O'Connor, Marcel Dadi, Jorge Morel, Suzy Bogguss, Boots Randolph, Los Indios Tabajaras, and other world-class performers. Each year the convention hosts 60+ guest artists, who perform stage concerts, intimate close-up sessions, and top-notch workshops for attendees. 

Each day kicks off with an attendee open mike session on the main stage, followed by artist performances and workshops, and up-close performances, all running concurrently on the stages and in nearby meeting rooms. Each night, there are concerts on the main stage until late evening. The event culminates on Saturday night with a gala Chet Atkins tribute concert, with surprise special guests, as well as international guest artists. Along with musical performances and workshops, you'll find tons of jam session opportunities, and a vendor area with guitar makers, and companies like Gretsch Guitars, Maton, Godin, and Artisan Guitars.

In recent years we've seen a wave of young players from all over the world who have acquired the title "Young Thumbs." Through the efforts of mentors like Dr. John Knowles and Tommy Emmanuel, they show up in force each year and dazzle us with their music and guitar skills. We are also blessed with the amazing talents of the Endless Road Strings, a quartet of orchestra players who devote themselves to arranging and learning the music of Chet and back up many of the performers at the convention. As well, there is a group of red-hot pro sidemen who make themselves available as a "house band" for various shows at the convention. 

All said, the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society Convention is a wonderful place to meet fellow pickers, make new friends, steal as many licks as you can, and celebrate the music of one of the greatest musicians the world has ever known. 

Most attendees stay at the Sheraton Music City Hotel, for easy access to all convention events, food, amenities, and more, The nearby area also features a number of hotels in various types and price ranges. If you plan to stay at the Sheraton, it is a good idea to book early -- rooms for convention week tend to sell out several months before the convention

To attend the convention, click the Registration button on this page, print out a form, fill in your information and send it to CAAS. See you in Nashville! 


Convention Overview

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Concerts & Performances

There are two designated stages which feature scheduled performances all day long, with Stage One also hosting evening shows. On these stages, every act is a winner. You will experience a range of styles, and acts range from solo performers to full bands and various ensembles. The seating for these shows is comfortable and informal - no reserved seating and generally there's room for everybody. With the wealth of "local" talent in Music City USA, you never know who will show up on stage beside your favorite performers. As well as the scheduled stages, you'll find other performance events happening around the convention, such as the Tuck Raisor memorial stage (The Belmont Room), and a host of appearances in the Two Rivers room hosted by luthier Kirk Sand.

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Workshops & Close Ups

Our musician workshops are legendary, and there are many to choose from, running every day except Wednesday. Each workshop presenter is a seasoned performer, with great technique and ideas to share. All workshops are free for attendees, no advance sign-up is required, and they run from 45 to 60 minutes in length. The CAAS Close-Up sessions are intermixed with the workshops, taking place in the same meeting rooms. A Close-Up is an intimate session with a performer, and we encourage interaction - you can ask questions, make requests, and get to know the artists and their music in a special way. Workshops and close-up sessions are both a popular part of the CAAS mix of events.


Jam Sessions

At the CAAS convention, jam sessions can happen anytime, anywhere. There are no rules, and you never know who will show up to pick, or what the "agenda" will be. Some high-powered sessions are built around one or two great players, but there are also plenty of opportunities for players of any skill level, and just about any instrument. The spirit is one of "friendly adventure," and the result can range from laid-back to electrifying. From the smiles you see on people's faces, you know that everyone loves a good jam session.


Luthiers & Vendors

Part of our tradition has always been the support given by guitar companies, luthiers, retail sellers, and music companies in general. In almost every case, you can trace the relationships with these vendors right back to Chet Atkins himself. Each year Gretsch Guitars has a formidable display of great guitars, and many folks use the opportunity to try out and take home an iconic instrument from Gretsch's comprehensive collection. We are also supported by Artisan Guitars of Nashville, who sell many top brands, including the popular Maton Guitars from Australia. Recently, Godin Guitars, and Stonebridge Guitars, both of Canada, have had active displays and sales at the convention. As well as factory guitars, you will always find a quality group of custom guitars from luthiers coming from all over the country, as well as a few vintage guitar dealers. If you love quality guitars, there's something for everyone at the convention.