CMA Music Festival Lineup Has Someone for Everyone

Spotlights Headliners, Up-and-Comers, Tried-and-Trues

OK, Taylor Swift, Garth Brooks, Shania Twain and George Strait aren’t on the schedule, but practically every other country artist who made or aspired to the charts during the past 25 years is playing one of the many stages at this year’s CMA Music Festival in downtown Nashville.

Chris Young performed Wednesday (June 8) during opening ceremonies at the new AT&T Skyview Stage at Ascend Amphitheater.

Other guns will be sweating in the spotlight at Nissan Stadium, starting Thursday night. The lineup for the first show in the evening concert series includes Miranda Lambert, Dierks Bentley, Jason Aldean, Rascal Flatts, the Oak Ridge Boys, the Charlie Daniels Band and up-and-comer Kelsea Ballerini.

Friday night’s card offers Eric Church, Carrie Underwood, Chris Stapleton, Clint Black, Sam Hunt, Hank Williams Jr. and Frankie Ballard.

Saturday’s soiree presents Blake Shelton, Florida Georgia Line, Cole Swindell, Chris Young, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, the Marshall Tucker Band and Steven Tyler.

Closing the festival Sunday night is a torrent of talent that includes Luke Bryan, Keith Urban, Little Big Town, Brett Eldredge, Thomas Rhett, Exile and musician-comic Ray Stevens.

The days are saturated with far too many performances to list here. But here are a few well worth checking out:

New Voices: Brandy Clark, Friday, Chevrolet Riverfront Stage, 10-10:30 a. m.; Brothers Osborne, Thursday, Chevrolet Riverfront Stage, 12-12:30 p. m.; Cam, Sunday, Chevrolet Riverfront Stage,1:45-2:15 p.m.; Cassadee Pope, Sunday, HGTV Lodge, 2-2:50 p. m.; Chris Janson, Thursday, Chevrolet Riverfront Stage, 2:15-2:45 p. m.

Also, Eric Paslay, Friday, Chevrolet Riverfront Stage, 10:45-11:15 a. m., Maren Morris, Thursday, Chevrolet Riverfront Stage, 3-3:30 p.m.; Maddie & Tae, Thursday, Chevrolet Riverfront Stage, 1:30-2 p. m.; Mo Pitney, Saturday, Chevrolet Cruze Park Stage, 10:30-10:55; Scotty McCreery, Thursday, Chevrolet Riverfront Stage, 3:45-4:15 p. m.

Familiar Hitmakers: Two-time CMA female vocalist of the year Janie Fricke, Saturday, Durango Music Spot, 1:30-1:50 p. m.; John Berry, Saturday, Durango Music Spot, 12-12:20 p.m.; Lorrie Morgan, Saturday, Chevrolet Riverfront Stage, 10-10:30 a.m.; Moe Bandy, Thursday, Durango Music Spot, 12-12:20 p.m.

Also, Neal McCoy, Friday, Chevrolet Riverfront Park, 4:45-5:15 p.m.; Rodney Atkins, Saturday, Chevrolet Riverfront Park, 11:30 a. m.-12 p.m; Shenandoah, Thursday, Durango Music Spot, 1:30-1:50 and Friday, AT&T Skyview Stage at Ascend Amphitheater, 1:30-1:50 p.m.; T. Graham Brown, Friday, Durango Music Spot, 2-2:20 p.m.; Tracy Lawrence, Friday, Chevrolet Riverfront Stage, 4-4:30 p.m.; Ty Herndon, Friday, Chevrolet Cruze Park Stage, 1:10-1:35 p.m.

Bluegrass Bravos: Dailey & Vincent, Thursday, AT&T Skyview Stage at Ascend Amphitheater, 2:20-3:10 p.m.; Lorraine Jordan, Sunday, Durango Music Spot, 2-2:20 p.m.

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to CMT.com.