See photos from backstage at CMA Fest in Nashville.
Carly Pearce, Luke Combs, Nicole Combs, Cody Johnson; Photos by John Shearer, Getty Images for CMA
On Wednesday evening, country music’s biggest stars will be taking over ABC for CMA Fest, a three-hour country music extravaganza.
The music event of the summer will feature 30+ performances and surprise collaborations from some of Country music’s hottest stars, including Alabama, Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, Leon Bridges, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Luke Combs, Dan + Shay, Jordan Davis, Vince Gill, HARDY, Tyler Hubbard, Jelly Roll, Cody Johnson, Elle King, Miranda Lambert, Avril Lavigne, Little Big Town, Ashley McBryde, Reba McEntire, Tim McGraw, Jo Dee Messina, Old Dominion, Jon Pardi, Carly Pearce, Darius Rucker, Tanya Tucker, Keith Urban, and Lainey Wilson.
Bentley, King, and Wilson will host CMA Fest on ABC, airing on Wednesday, July 19 at 8/7c on ABC.
The special was filmed at the 50th Anniversary of CMA Fest in Downtown Nashville at Nissan Stadium during the star-studded, four-day festival, which took place Thursday, June 8 through Sunday, June 11.
For many artists, CMA Fest gives them a chance to showcase gratitude for the fans who have supported them along the way.
“CMA Fest to me is the most unique experience and weekend in any genre of music because we as artists count on the fans to make our worlds go ‘round and they do and what it means to me is to be able to just give back to them and love on them and give them unique experiences and just say thank you, thank you for all of my dreams coming true,” Carly Pearce shared at the festival.
It’s also a chance for the artists to reconnect with each other since they are usually on tour across the country and rarely have the opportunity to meet up.
While fans will get to re-live what happened in front of the cameras at CMA Fest on Wednesday during the ABC special, here’s a look at what happened behind the scenes at the festival.
CMA Fest marked its 50th Anniversary with a record-breaking celebration in Nashville, June 8 through June 11.
The four-day event hosted an estimated daily attendance of over 90,000, a 12% increase from 2022, according to the Country Music Association. Additionally, the nightly concerts at Nissan Stadium saw 10% growth from 2022.
The festival also hosted fans from all 50 states as well as a record-breaking 51 countries.
“What a weekend! As we’ve spent the past year reflecting on this milestone celebration, one theme has persisted—the incredible connection between Country Music fans and the artists,” Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer, shared in a statement. “It’s magical because it still matters after all these years. From first-timers to legends, so many artists started as fans—some as far back as Fan Fair. Almost every artist who performs during the festival has had their own experience as a fan, so for many of them, taking the stage at CMA Fest is a full-circle moment. We only get the chance to celebrate our 50th anniversary once, and to do so in such an impactful way has meant the world to us. Thank you, Country Music!”
More than 300 acts took part in CMA Fest this year, including performances at the Chevy Riverfront Stage, Dr Pepper Amp Stage, Chevy Vibes Stage, Maui Jim Reverb Stage and the Hard Rock Stage as well at Fan Fair X inside Music City Center.