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Thomas Rhett & Kelsea Ballerini return to host 'CMA Fest'

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Tue, Jun 4th 2019 10:10 am

3-hour primetime concert special airs Sunday, Aug. 4, on ABC

The Country Music Association announced country music superstars Thomas Rhett and Kelsea Ballerini will return to host “CMA Fest,” which it called “the music event of the summer.” Multimedia personality Bobby Bones was tapped as a special guest host.

“CMA Fest,” the three-hour prime-time concert special, “which brings country music’s ultimate fan experience to a national television audience,” airs Sunday, Aug. 4 (8 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network.

“This year’s ‘CMA Fest’ offers something for every music fan,” said Sarah Trahern, CMA CEO. “From surprise collaborations to some of country music’s most exciting, emerging and legendary talent, we’re excited to bring the festival to millions of fans around the world later this summer.”

“ ‘CMA Fest’ is always the summer’s must-see music event with the biggest names in country music,” SAID Rob Mills, senior vice president, alternative series, specials and late-night programming, ABC Entertainment. “With Thomas Rhett and Kelsea Ballerini returning for their third year, and Bobby Bones joining them as special guest host, we know this summer’s festival will knock it out of the park.”

Filmed during Nashville’s annual four-day CMA Fest (Thursday through Sunday, June 6-9), the television special features more than 30 performances and surprise collaborations onstage at Nissan Stadium. 2019 marks the 16th consecutive year of the broadcast, a feat no other U.S. music festival has achieved. Last year’s broadcast generated ABC’s top summertime non-sports ratings, leading ABC to the most-watched network that night (source: Nielsen Media Research).

Rhett returns to host “CMA Fest” for a fourth year, first co-hosting the special in 2016, while Ballerini returns for a third year. She will take the Nissan Stadium stage to perform this Thursday, while Rhett will perform Friday.

More than 300 artists perform at CMA Fest, donating their time so a portion of ticket proceeds can directly benefit high-quality music education initiatives across the U.S. through the CMA Foundation. CMA Fest is unlike any other, with tens of thousands of country music fans descending upon downtown Nashville for four straight days of live music on 11 official stages, as well as meet-and-greets and up-close-and-personal experiences for fans at Xfinity Fan Fair X. CMA Fest’s outdoor daytime stages are free and open to the public. All stage lineups are available in the official CMA Fest App as well as CMAfest.com. Artist lineups are subject to change.

A limited number of four-day passes for the nightly performances at Nissan Stadium are still available at CMAfest.com or through the CMA box office at 1-800-CMA-FEST. Tickets for Firestone Country Roads Stage at Ascend Amphitheater, in addition to single and four-day tickets for Xfinity Fan Fair X, are available at CMAfest.com.

About CMA Fest

“The Ultimate Country Music Fan Experience” began in 1972 as Fan Fair, which drew 5,000 fans to Nashville’s Municipal Auditorium. Now in its 48th year, the legendary festival has become the city’s signature country music event that hosts tens of thousands of fans from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and 36 international countries. In 2018, CMA Fest featured 11 official stages with hundreds of artists performing – all to benefit music education.

CMA Fest is a one-of-a-kind festival with artists donating their time to perform so ticket proceeds can directly benefit high-quality music programs across the country through the CMA Foundation.

CMA Fest is filmed for a primetime ABC Television Network special, with 2019 marking the 16th consecutive year the event has been filmed for television – a feat no other music festival has achieved.

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