ACM Fan Jam Explained

LAS VEGAS — Throughout the ACM Fan Jam at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on Sunday night (April 6), I kept getting text messages from friends asking me what I thought of the show. I said, “I’m not at that show. I’m at the other show.”

A lot of confusion ensued. Because if you were not in Vegas this weekend, and you were watching the ACM Awards at home on TV, you would just assume there was a lot happening on a lot of stages.

So let me explain. While the ACM Awards were going on at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, the ACM Fan Jam was going on at Mandalay Bay. Fan Jam is a fans-only event (meaning no stars are seated in the audience) and has been going on for the last four years.

It had its own set of performers (Rascal Flatts, The Band Perry, Brett Eldredge, Justin Moore, Kip Moore) and Florida Georgia Line was there to headline. They also accepted their ACM Award for vocal duo of the year while they were there. And after the broadcast of the awards show was over, they stayed on to give those Fan Jam fans an actual concert.

At one point in the Fan Jam show, Luke Bryan magically appeared to sing with Florida Georgia Line on “This Is How We Roll.” I say “magically” because the MGM Grand — where Bryan was hosting the awards show with Blake Shelton — is a mile away. Of course, Vegas traffic makes every journey seem 100 times longer than it really is. Maybe they blocked off roads for Bryan — like they do for the president? Maybe Bryan had a jet pack.

But this is the best way I can explain the need for two shows going on simultaneously is that’s just how many people love country. No one arena could contain us all. The MGM can only hold 11,000 people, and that’s just not enough. There were 8,000 people at the Fan Jam. That adds up to 19,000 country fans, and therefore, two music-packed shows.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.