After a two-year hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, CMA Fest, the world’s longest-running country music festival, returned to Nashville June 9-12. The 49e four-day edition of country music kicked off with more than 260 artists and around 80,000 fans under sunny skies and warm temperatures on eight stages morning, noon and night.
Saturday night (June 11) at Nissan Stadium was the festival’s crescendo as it included current CMA Artist of the Year, Luke Combs, as well as two-time Artist of the Year, five-time singer-songwriter Luke Bryan. year, Carrie Underwood, and four-time Vocal Duo of the Year, Brothers Osborne.
To start the evening, Randy Houser took the stage and sang four songs; “How Country Feels”, “Like A Cowboy”, “Note to Self”, and he finished with “Runnin’ Outta Moonlight”.
The Osborne Brothers performed an energetic run of their popular hits, but everyone will be talking about the giant, dancing robotic skeletons that roamed the stage appropriately for “Skeletons” halfway through their set. John extended the guitar solos for “Shoot Me Straight” and “Ain’t My Fault” while TJ motivated giant chants with the crowd. The setlist started with “Shoot Me Straight” followed by “I’m Not for Everyone”, “Stay a Little Longer”, “Skeletons”, “All Night” and “Ain’t My Fault”.
After the Osborne brothers’ performance, the crowd was directed to a new platform in the stadium where Frank Ray and Mitchell Tenpenny gave the small stage a big sound. They sang three songs each and the crowd was then taken to the main stage where current CMA Artist of the Year Luke Combs performed all the hits that got him to where he is today. He recalled performing his breakthrough single, “Hurricane,” in 2016 in front of 83 people in Athens, Georgia, then quickly transitioned to his current status of over 60,000 fans singing along with most of his tracks today. today. But Combs got a little emotional when he shared that CMA Fest 2022 would be his last performance before becoming a dad. Combs’ wife, Nicole, gave birth to their son, Tex, just ten days later. Combs also debuted his latest single, “The Kind of Love we Make” for the first time, and ended with a crowd-pleasing anthem “Beer Never Broke My Heart” that everyone sang along to. ‘unison. Combs’ setlist was: “When It Rains It Pours”, “Cold as You”, “The Kind of Love We Make”, “Doin’ This”, “Beautiful Crazy”, “She Got the Best of Me”, “Lovin’ On You”, “Hurricane” and “Beer Never Broke My Heart”.
Shortly after, Luke Bryan took to the stage with nine of his greatest songs. He started with “I Don’t Want This Night to End” and “Kick the Dust Up” before going to the archives with “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye”. The crowd sang along to last summer’s hit, “One Margarita,” before he drank a shot of tequila from a little red mug while singing “Huntin’, Fishin’ and Lovin’ Every Day.” He slowed things down with “Crash My Party” and the emotional “Drink A Beer” on which the stadium lights were turned off and sang it through cellphone optics alone. He concluded his set with “Knockin’ Boots” and the ever-popular “Country Girl (Shake It for Me)” and left the crowd begging for more.
However, the finale belonged to Carrie Underwood who stepped out in dazzling thigh-high boots, denim daisies and a shimmering red top. Her voice was as powerful as ever when she started with “Church Bells”. The rest of her set was: “Good Girl”, “Undo It”, “Ghost Story”, “Wasted”, “Jesus, Take the Wheel/How Great Thou Art”, “Denim & Rhinestones”, “Blown Away “. “, “Last Name” and his last song was “Before He Cheats”.
Unlike other festivals, CMA Fest artists volunteer their time to perform so ticket proceeds can directly benefit high-quality music education initiatives across the country through the CMA Foundation. .
Next year’s CMA Fest will return for its 50th anniversary and will take place in Nashville June 8-11, 2023.
“CMA Fest,” the three-hour primetime special hosted by Dierks Bentley and Elle King, airs Wednesday, August 3 at 8/7 a.m. on ABC.
The Country Music Association established the CMA Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, in 2011 to leverage strategic partnerships, the professional development of qualified music teachers, and the distribution of grants to enhance and resist equitable music education programs for all students nationwide. Based in Nashville, Tennessee, the CMA Foundation focuses on sustainability, advocacy, and accountability in music education by investing in diverse resources for students, schools, and communities.