CMA Fest celebrates its next 50 years

Nashville was alive with the sound of Country Music as CMA Fest, the largest and longest-running Country Music festival in the world, marked its 51st celebration this past weekend. From Thursday, 6 June to Sunday, 9 June, the event brought together fans from all 50 states and 46 countries, highlighting the enduring connection between artists and their audience. The festival was a resounding success, setting the stage for the next half-century of Country Music celebrations.

Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer, expressed her excitement: “What an incredible four days and nights! This year’s CMA Fest has truly been a celebration of community and collaboration. From Country icons returning to the Fest stage, to emerging acts reaching new audiences for the first time, seeing the fans and the industry embrace our genre in such a meaningful way has been the perfect way to kick off our next 50 years. We can’t wait for 2025!”

The festival footprint was buzzing with activity, featuring multiple stages and more than 300 performers playing to capacity crowds. Highlights included a special appearance by Dolly Parton at Fan Fair X on Thursday morning, which saw thousands of fans lining up hours in advance for a Q&A session and impromptu sing-alongs. Shaboozey and Tucker Wetmore were among the breakout stars, with performances that spilled out into the streets of Nashville.

Nissan Stadium was the epicentre of excitement, with surprise moments and unique collaborations lighting up the nights. Post Malone thrilled fans with an unannounced performance, joined by Blake Shelton for their new song “Pour Me A Drink.” Other memorable moments included Ashley McBryde’s duet with Gretchen Wilson, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s collaboration with ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, and Lainey Wilson’s performances with both Terri Clark and Keith Urban. The festival closed on a high note with HARDY bringing a star-studded lineup to the stage.

The festival’s extensive line-up featured additional acts at Nissan Stadium, with artists like Craig Morgan, Jordan Davis, Thomas Rhett, and Lynyrd Skynyrd delivering standout performances. Each night brought its own set of highlights, from Gretchen Wilson’s high-energy opening on Friday to Jelly Roll’s eclectic mashup on Saturday. The final day saw performances from Josh Turner, Megan Moroney, Brothers Osborne, Carly Pearce, and more, culminating in HARDY’s powerful closing set.

Beyond the music, CMA Fest offered fans a wealth of activities at Fan Fair X inside Music City Center. The air-conditioned venue hosted meet-and-greets, merchandise stalls, and interactive experiences. Dolly Parton’s ALL ACCESS! Pop-Up Experience was a major draw, featuring her global branding and merchandise, along with a preview of her forthcoming cookbook. The CMA Close Up Stage hosted Artist of the Day sessions with Cody Johnson, Thomas Rhett, and Lainey Wilson.

Fan Fair X also featured panels and events celebrating the intersection of music and culture. Highlights included “Enlisted: Where Music Meets Military” with Craig Morgan and Gary Sinise, “Latin Roots: The ‘Equis’ Factor in Country Music,” and “50 Years at The Opry House” with Mark Willis and fellow Opry members.

CMA Fest’s commitment to music education was front and centre, with performers donating their time to support the CMA Foundation. The foundation’s initiatives were showcased throughout the festival, including performances by high school marching bands and special appearances by music students at Nissan Stadium.

Fitness fans also had their share of excitement with “Fitness at Fest,” featuring high-intensity workouts alongside favourite artists and celebrities. Musically Fed, an organisation fighting hunger through the music industry, donated excess food from the festival to local shelters and missions.

Looking ahead, the 52nd CMA Fest is scheduled for 5-8 June 2025 in Nashville. Tickets will be available on 25 June 2024. Fans can stay updated by signing up for CMA’s Country Connection emails at Additionally, the three-hour primetime television special, “CMA Fest,” hosted by Jelly Roll and Ashley McBryde, will air on 25 June at 8/7c on ABC and stream the next day on Hulu.

As CMA Fest closes one chapter and begins another, the festival continues to be a beacon of community, collaboration, and celebration for Country Music lovers around the world.


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Hannah Larvin, Editor, Maverick Magazine
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