This Wednesday night (Aug. 3), Thomas Rhett will play host.
He and Brett Eldredge are co-hosting the TV special on ABC, officially called CMA Music Festival Country’s Night to Rock.
It will show some of the highlights from this summer’s CMA Music Festival. What it won’t show is what the fest was like for Rhett before he became a country star, back when he was just like the rest of us: a country fan.
“I always went as a fan,” he told me when we caught up in June. “Ever since I got into middle school, high school and then college, it was something me and my buddies always did.”
When I asked him what it was like back then, he told me it was always his favorite week of the year.
“Being able to go downtown, set up in the parking lot, bake in the sun all day, and then sit in the nosebleed tickets, and watch all four nights was the best. And to go from sitting at the top of the stadium and watch the artists, and now be a part of this world, it’s like it has come full circle and it’s one of the craziest coolest things I’ve ever experienced.”
And he also told me that when he first started meeting those guys he watched from the cheap seats – Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan and Eric Church — he made sure he told them that when he was 18 years old they were his idols.
“And they still are,” he said.