NASHVILLE – The 48th annual CMA Fest kicked off yesterday with nearly 100 performances on 11 stages throughout downtown Nashville. Fans packed the festival all day for performances from their favorite artists, meet and greets and prize giveaways at Xfinity Fan Fair X, and one-of-a-kind experiences from morning till night. Fans were able to experience Billy Currington kicking off the Chevy Riverfront Stage performing hit songs like “People Are Crazy,” “Do I Make You Wanna” and “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To,” Trisha Yearwood opening the CMA Close Up Stage for the special Artist of the Day session at Xfinity Fan Fair X with songwriters featured on her forthcoming album including Ashley McBryde, Karyn Rochelle and Lucie Silvas, and Randy Houser and Chase Rice headlining the Firestone Country Roads Stage at Ascend Amphitheater Presented by BBR Music Group.
Florida Georgia Line closed out the nightly concert at Nissan Stadium, where their label Big Machine Record Group presented the duo with a Platinum plaque for their song “Talk You Out Of It.” Throughout the night, fans were surprised with special collaborations from Brooks & Dunn, McBryde and Brothers Osborne performing “You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone,” Brooks & Dunn with Brothers Osborne performing “Hard Workin’ Man,” The Chainsmokers with Kelsea Ballerini performing their pop hit “This Feeling” and Brandi Carlile joining Tanya Tucker to perform multiple songs during her set. Midland also made a special performance from the satellite stage performing “Mr. Lonely.”
Fans packed the Chevy Riverfront Stage, which hit capacity early in the day during Lee Brice’s performance. Brice was only the second performance of the day at the Chevy Riverfront Stage, with the energy starting off high and remaining a packed house throughout the day.
Miranda Lambert kicked off MuttNation’s Mutt March with Dan Smyers of Dan + Shay, where hundreds of dog lovers and adoptable pups paraded from Nissan Stadium across the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge and into Walk of Fame Park. For the third consecutive year, MuttNation is entertaining CMA Fest attendees with adoptable dogs at Xfinity Fan Fair X inside Music City Center.
The CMA Foundation and U.S. Bank launched a new activation titled “Play for M.E.” (Play for Music Education), taking four old, worn pianos from within Metro Nashville Public Schools and having artists from Nashville WHAT. Creative Group design and paint murals on them. The pianos have been placed throughout downtown Nashville along with a donation bin, where festival attendees not only have the opportunity to donate directly to the CMA Foundation, but are able to play the pianos and post photos using #itstartswithME and #MusicMadePossible for a chance to be featured on CMA’s social media, in addition to receiving a free printed photo. In addition to the donation bin, fans can also donate in The Official CMA Fest App or by texting COUNTRY 707070. Following CMA Fest, the CMA Foundation will provide replacement pianos to Metro Nashville Public Schools. Lindsay Ell and Hunter Hayes surprised fans downtown to play on the pianos, giving festival attendees an intimate, but exciting performance from both artists.
CMA Fest is the longest-running Country Music festival in the world with a portion of ticket proceeds directly benefiting high-quality music education initiatives across the United States through the CMA Foundation, thanks to all the artists performing at CMA Fest donating their time.