2011 CMA Music Festival Wraps Up Nightly Concerts and Nashville Readies for Next Year!
Last week marked a jam-packed week for Nashville with the 2011 CMA Music Festival taking place June 9-12, and all the preliminary events which kicked-off as early as Monday. It was hot outside and the streets may have been crowded beyond belief, but it was a success nonetheless! From the special concerts at the Grand Ole Opry featuring Carrie Underwood, Randy Travis, Lady Antebellum, American Idol winner and runner-up Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina and others, to Autograph signings at Fan Fair Hall and fan club parties, to the CMA Fest Parade Wednesday, to the concert line-up at LP Field, the focal point of the festival, the entire week had plenty to offer for each and every country music fan.
The nightly concerts at LP Field kicked-off in high gear on Thursday with the Zac Brown Band who were joined by special guests Amos Lee to perform “Colder Weather” and “Knee Deep“, and newcomer Sonia Leigh. Additionally, Zac Brown Band was joined by Randy Travis for a duet on his hit “Forever and Ever, Amen“. Even Alan Jackson popped by during the set to sing “As She’s Walking Away” with the group. Next up, Easton Corbin contributed a 20-minute set including “A Little More Country Than That“, “Roll With It“, and even a title off his new album. Sara Evans followed up Corbin’s set with her own including her latest hit single “A Little Bit Stronger” and other songs like “As If“. Season 9 American Idol finalist, Casey James brought his own flavor to the line-up with “So Sweet” and “Drive“. Lastly, Jason Aldean wrapped up the evening with hits “My Kinda Party” and “Big Green Tracker“. He was joined by collaborator Kelly Clarkson to sing their duet “Don’t You Wanna Stay“, and finished things up with the increasingly popular “Dirt Road Anthem“.
The all-star line-up continued Friday night with Ashton Shepherd singing songs like “Sounds So Good” and current hit “Look It Up“. She was followed by Dierks Bentley‘s five song set which included “Sideways” and “Feel That Fire“. Lady Antebellum took over the stage next and sang the hit “Need You Now” as well as “American Honey” and “Just A Kiss“. Shania Twain graced the stage, and though she did not sing, she introduced the next act, Sugarland who covered multiple songs including “All I Want To Do“, “Stuck Like Glue“, and “Something More“. Keith Urban hit the stage next with “Put You In A Song” and “Love Somebody Like You“. Jake Owen jumped in for an unannounced duet with Urban on his own “Don’t Think I Can’t Love You“. Rounding the evening off nicely was Reba McEntire with a classic “Why Haven’t I Heard From You” and her more recent “Consider Me Gone“.
Saturday night’s line-up was no less shabby starting off with Chris Young singing some of his best like “Gettin’ You Home” and “Tomorrow“. This was followed by an interesting moment where Danny Gokey joined Gildan Activewear on stage to accept a plaque for the company’s Guinness Book of World Records qualifying t-shirt which measures more than 280-feet long. After this bizarre moment, Little Big Town took the stage with some of their hits like “Boondocks” and “A Little More You“. The group also threw in their own bluegrass version of Lady Gaga‘s Born This Way. Then Josh Turner took over with “Long Black Train” and “Why Don’t We Just Dance“. He was joined by special guest American Idol winner Scotty McCreery as the two sang a duet version of “Your Man“. Big & Rich got in on the action with just one song, their new single “Fake ID“. This short performance was followed by a longer one given by Trace Adkins who sang a wide range of hits from his latest “Just Fishin‘” to a solo version of “Hillbilly Bone” to “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk“. Thompson Squared stepped in with an acoustic version of their popular “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not“. This was followed by Martina McBride whose set included “This One’s For The Girl’s“, “Teenage Daughters“, and “Independence Day“. Like Turner, Martina was joined on stage by recent a recent American Idol finalist, runner-up Lauren Alaina, and the two performed “Anyway“. The evening came to a close with a performance from Rascal Flatts including their first hit “Prayin’ For Daylight” as well as newer songs like “I Won’t Let Go“. The finale of the show included fireworks and an unannounced collaboration between Rascal Flatts and Little Big Town on a mash-up of two classics Kansas’ “Carry On My Wayward Son” and The Edgar Winters Group’s “Free Ride“.
Bringing the concert series to its final conclusion, Sunday night’s line-up was as good as any, with The JaneDear Girls starting off the night with “Wildflower” by Jimmy Wayne‘s “Stay Gone” and “Do You Believe Me Now“. The Band Perry came in next with “If I Die Young” as well as other songs. Darius Rucker claimed the stage with a set including “Come Back Song” and “I Got Nothin’“, with Tracy Lawrence following up with “You Find Out Who Your Friends Are“. Then came Blake Shelton with “It’s All About Tonight“, “Honey Bee“, and “Hillbilly Bone” on which he was joined by Trace Adkins. Shelton then had the chance to introduce his spitfire of a wife to the stage, Miranda Lambert who pleased the audience with songs including “Kerosene“, “White Liar“, and “Gunpowder and Lead“. Lambert also sang a tune, “Hell On Wheels“, with fellow The Pistol Annies members, Angaleena Presley and Ashley Moore. Taylor Swift closed out CMA Fest as the last performer Sunday evening singing a special rendition of Tom Petty’s “American Girl” as well as many of her hits including “Our Song“.
The 2011 CMA Music Festival turned out to be as successful as everyone hoped with organizers speculating record attendance on Thursday, the opening day. Plans for next year’s CMA Fest are already in the works, and we can’t wait to hear who will be in the line-up!
For those of you, who couldn’t make it out to this year’s CMA Music Fest (and even those who did!), it’s never too late to start planning for next year! The date for the 2012 CMA Music Festival is set for June 7th – June 10th. It was originally announced tickets would be available beginning June 11th, but that date has been pushed back to July 30th at 10am CT.