The Academy of Country Music is announcing THE ACM EXPERIENCE, the first-ever, FREE, open-to-the public country music lifestyle event created for fans during The Week Vegas Goes Country®.  The ACM Experience is a fan-focused three-day event including the ACM BBQ Throwdown, ACM Expo, the Ram Ride and Drive and more, to be held March 30-April 1, 2012 at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.  The events will culminate in the already-announced ACM Fan Jam, a ticketed event hosted by Zac Brown Band, on Sunday, April 1, 2012.

THE ACM EXPERIENCE will take place in conjunction with The Week Vegas Goes Country, that includes the main event, the 47th ANNUAL ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS, honoring country music’s top talent and the industry’s hottest emerging talent, to be broadcast LIVE from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday, April 1, 2012 at 8:00 PM live ET/delayed PT on the CBS Television Network.

Located inside and in front of Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, The ACM Experience will be dedicated to immersing fans in the country music lifestyle, allowing enthusiasts to “shop country, taste country, ride country, and hear country” throughout the weekend. 

“Las Vegas is already a destination for so many country music fans and The ACM Experience is a natural extension of the Academy’s focus on bringing them the best in free, family-friendly events that promote the genre and provide additional exposure for both established acts and new artists,” said, Bob Romeo, CEO of the Academy of Country Music. “We are thrilled that we can help program so many amazing events for fans—the Academy has essentially taken over two of the largest and most prestigious venues in Las Vegas, which is no small feat.”

Sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society, the ACM BBQ Throwdown presented by BULL, will bring together some of the most recognizable names in the competitive barbeque circuit, all competing for a guaranteed purse of $50,000—one of the world’s richest contests. In addition to the actual competition, there will be world champion vendors selling their famous barbecue, interactive booths, cooking demonstrations and much more to be announced.  The ACM BBQ Throwdown will be produced by Smoke on the Water Productions.

For the ultimate country shopping and marketplace experience, the ACM Expo presented by Roper, will be located just inside the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.  As part of The ACM Experience, the marketplace ACM Expo will include more than 200,000 square feet of shopping, gaming and eating. Unique vendors from all over the United States and Canada will offer products such as customized jewelry, western wear, furniture, original art, homemade crafts and pottery.  The ACM Expo also includes a “town square” performance area for some of the brightest rising stars in country music and other entertainment to be announced.  The ACM Expo will be produced by Group W Productions, LLC.

“Country music fans from around the world already reach out to us early to plan their trips to the Academy of Country Music Awards and now, with THE ACM EXPERIENCE, we can further enhance their vacations and bring the country lifestyle to the Las Vegas market in a way we’ve never been able to before,” said Erick Long, Vice President, Operations & Logistics at the Academy of Country Music and lead event producer for THE ACM EXPERIENCE.

The ACM Experience will also include interactive areas, such as the “Dance Y’all Showcase,” a dance party and exhibition featuring America’s premier country dance crew, and the “Dr Pepper TEN Man Cave,” a custom 34-foot trailer “man sanctuary” designed to provide Dr Pepper TEN sampling, entertainment, gaming, music and sports.  The Dr Pepper TEN Man Cave is packed with TVs, gaming and iPad stations, a 55” main screen flanked by surround sound and more.  Also, the Coaches’ Trophy™ presented by Dr Pepper will be on display where fans can capture a photo with the iconic, 45 pound, Waterford Crystal trophy.  This Discover Bowl Championship Series (BCS) national championship trophy is the ultimate goal of college football teams across the country.

Fans can experience firsthand the best-in-class performance, capabilities and competitive advantages of Ram trucks at the Ram Ride and Drive outdoor test track at The ACM Experience. Located just outside of the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, the Ram Ride and Drive will demonstrate the capabilities of Ram trucks and engage country fans with a closed course including a 13-foot mobile hill and steel suspension ramps. Fans can also check out the new features of the 2012 Ram trucks on display in the Ram Ride and Drive arena.

“Ram Truck fans and country music fans are one and the same as they are cut from the same cloth of authenticity with a genuine work-hard, play-hard attitude,” said Fred Diaz, President and CEO, Ram Truck Brand, Chrysler Group LLC. “We are excited to be a part of this first-ever fan experience event at the ACM Awards and to give our mutual fans the opportunity to ride, drive and experience the most innovative lineup of full-size trucks on the market.” 

As previously announced, rounding out the weekend of events at Mandalay Bay, the 2nd Annual ACM Fan Jam, a ticketed event hosted by Zac Brown Band will take place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on Sunday, April 1st, 2012. This live remote location gives country music lovers the ultimate fan-pass to be part of the 47th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards broadcast.  Throughout the three-hour Awards telecast from the MGM Grand Garden Arena, there will be live performances, via remote, from the Mandalay Bay Events Center by Zac Brown Band and other top-tier music acts, to be announced. The ACM Fan Jam includes a profusion of entertainment, prizes and special giveaways only for attendees, including autographed guitars, trip packages to country music events and merchandise.  The ACM Fan Jam continues after the Awards telecasts ends, with performances by Zac Brown and friends. Details will be announced soon. Tickets for ACM Fan Jam can be purchased for $40 and $60 at www.Ticketmaster.com.

Schedule/hours for The ACM Experience are:
Friday, March 30, 2012               10AM – 6PM
Saturday, March 31, 2012           10AM – 6PM
Sunday, April 1, 2012                10AM – 4PM

For updates on The ACM Experience, the ACM Awards and all Academy events, please log onto www.ACMcountry.com, like us on Facebook at www.facebook/AcademyOfCountryMusic or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ACMawards.