Monday, June 10, 2019
– Four straight days of sold-out shows and capacity crowds plus surprise performances and collaborations summed up the 48th annual CMA Fest.
At Nissan Stadium, Lil Nas X was joined by Billy Ray Cyrus and Keith Urban for a surprise performance of "Old Town Road," the number 1 song in the country for 10 weeks that had been on the country charts until removed for not being considered country.
Country Music Hall of Fame's newest inductees, Brooks & Dunn joined Brothers Osborne Thursday night to perform "Hard Workin' Man" as well as "You're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone" including Ashley McBryde. Tanya Tucker brought out surprise guest Brandi Carlile to perform multiple songs during her opening set. Kelsea Ballerini welcomed The Chainsmokers for "This Feeling."
Carrie Underwood brought out Joan Jett for a five-song medley performance of Jett's hits including "I Hate Myself for Loving You," "Bad Reputation," "Crimson and Clover," "Fresh Start" and "I Love Rock 'N Roll" on Friday night.
Luke Combs joined Tim McGraw Saturday night to perform "Real Good Man," and Maren Morris welcomed Carlile back to perform their song "Common" Sunday night.
Florida Georgia Line was joined by HARDY during "Y'all Boys" and Morgan Wallen for "Up Down," with an additional surprise including Midland performing "Mr. Lonely" Thursday night. Brantley Gilbert and Lindsay Ell performed "What Happens In A Small Town" Friday night ,and Dierks Bentley welcomed Tenille Townes to the stage Saturday night, celebrating women in country with cover performances of Trisha Yearwood's "She's in Love with a Boy" and Deana Carter's "Strawberry Wine."
"CMA Fest," the three-hour primetime television special hosted by Thomas Rhett and Ballerini alongside special guest host Bobby Bones airs Sunday, Aug. 4 at 8/7 central on ABC.
"Despite some weather challenges, this year's CMA Fest was truly one to remember," says Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer. "It's a great event for fans to see their favorites and discover new artists. The feedback I received from artists is how much they enjoy the more intimate interactions with fans that CMA Fest offers. We managed to integrate the CMA Foundation and our music education efforts throughout the festival, which culminated with the Eagle Honor Choir belting out Carrie Underwood's 'The Champion' to a packed house at Nissan Stadium Sunday night. It was certainly one of the highlights of the festival."
More than 300 acts played on 11 official stages. The nightly concerts at Nissan Stadium were sold out, with more than 50,000 in attendance each night. Tens of thousands of fans attended the festival's outdoor stages and activations as well as Xfinity Fan Fair X inside Music City Center. Chevy Riverfront Stage, Budweiser Forever Country Stage and the Nashville Acoustic Corner Stage all reached capacity during CMA Fest.
Over the course of the four-day festival, Xfinity Fan Fair X inside Music City Center welcomed large crowds, hosting more than 300 artists across meet-and-greets and three indoor stages, including the CMA Close Up Stage, which featured Artist of the Day sessions with Trisha Yearwood alongside McBryde, Karyn Rochelle and Lucie Silvas on Thursday, Old Dominion on Friday, Chris Young on Saturday and Tracy Lawrence on Sunday. Randy Travis met with fans all four days, the first time he returned to host meet-and-greets in more than two decades. Ken Burns' "Country Music" documentary was previewed throughout CMA Fest, including a panel on the CMA Close Up Stage on Sunday featuring the film's writer/producer Dayton Duncan joined by Kathy Mattea, Ketch Secor (of Old Crow Medicine Show) and Marty Stuart for a conversation about the eight-part film series, set to air on PBS starting Sunday, Sept.15.
Next year's CMA Fest will take place Thursday, June 4 through Sunday, June 7, 2020. Four-day passes for CMA Fest in 2020 are on sale to the public Friday, Aug. 2.