Additional Performers Include Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, and Taylor Swift
Two-Time “Dancing with the Stars” Champion Cheryl Burke, Dierks Bentley, Brooks & Dunn, George Jones, and Kellie Pickler Appear in Story Segments
NASHVILLE – The Country Music Association turns up the heat this summer with sizzling concert performances and heart-warming stories featuring some of Country Music’s hottest stars on “CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock” – a two-hour network primetime special airing Monday, July 23 (9:00-11:00 PM/ET), on the ABC Television Network.
Filmed in Nashville during the legendary CMA Music Festival, which began as Fan Fair® in 1972, the special features performances by Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town and Taylor Swift. Previously announced performers include Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, Big & Rich, Brooks & Dunn, Sara Evans, Martina McBride, Brad Paisley, Kellie Pickler, Rascal Flatts, LeAnn Rimes, Sugarland, Josh Turner, Carrie Underwood, and Reba McEntire in a duet with “American Idol” Kelly Clarkson.
“The artist lineup at this year’s CMA Music Festival was amazing and the TV special captures the diversity, talent and top-notch concert production that have made these artists fan favorites from coast-to-coast,” said Tammy Genovese, CMA Chief Operating Officer. “This time, everyone has a front row seat for some of the hottest performances of the summer!”
In addition, the special captures the heart of CMA Music Festival, which is the unique bond between Country Music artists and their fans. Taped exclusively for the special, the cameras follow the stories of several Festival attendees who had their dreams realized when they were granted surprise, personal encounters with their favorite Country Music stars.
A former “American Idol” finalist who is now one of Country Music’s fastest rising stars, Kellie Pickler knows what it’s like to have a dream come true and she shared that experience with Kellie McFarland, 19, a diehard Country Music fan who has dreams of running her own record label. Pickler paid a surprise visit at McFarland’s Nashville home and took the aspiring record executive on a tour of her record label. The uber fan got the star treatment and experienced what it is like to live like a Country Music star as she and two friends, Tyler Rider, 20, and Melissa Montgomery, 21, hung out with Pickler and were granted an all-access pass to the event.
Nashville media were buzzing when word leaked during the Festival that Brooks & Dunn would take it back to their road-house roots with an unannounced club concert for their grittiest fans at The Stage. The story began with a local radio DJ announcing the news of the impromptu honky tonk concert and the result was pandemonium as 3,000 fans clogged the streets for a glimpse of the most awarded duo in CMA Awards history. Overwhelmed and moved by their loyal fan base, Ronnie Dunn and Kix Brooks returned the devotion, performing for the packed house, posing for photos and signing autographs well into the night.
Karmela Kondra, 21, Andy Dufort, 23, and Stacey Zurburg, 27, from Calgary, Alberta, and Mike Boyenko, 27, from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, were a group of friends that journeyed to Music City for four days of music and fun, but they got a whole lot more when Dierks Bentley greeted them outside their hotel. Bentley ended up taking them on a tour of Nashville including the Fan Fair Exhibit Hall and the Country Music Hall of Fame, where they met Hall of Fame legend George Jones, and experienced a day in the life of a busy Country star.
Two-time winner of ABC TV’s “Dancing with the Stars” Cheryl Burke had a tough assignment – search through 50,000 screaming, singing, dance-till-dawn concert goers to find the biggest Country Music fans at CMA Music Festival. Once she zeroed in on her picks, she sprung the news that this was they “Lucky Day” and they would be granted backstage meet and greets with their favorite stars.
Sisters Alexa, 13, and Hannah Borroel, 17, of Santa Ynez, Calif., and Melissa Greenfield, 17, of Nashville, Tenn., met on Sugarland’s fan web site and then met in person at the Festival, where Burke found them and introduced them to their idols before the duo performed at LP Field. Anna Menghart, 23, and Crystal Cobb, 22, both of Little Rock, Ark., had a backstage meeting with Rascal Flatts. And singer LeAnn Rimes was delighted to meet three of her biggest fans, Tyler Anderson, 19, of Lafayette, La., Claire Gremillion, 18, of Youngsville, La., and Jewel Hicks, 17, of Welsh, La., at her tour bus.
“The relationship between the artists and their fans has been the cornerstone of this event for 36 years,” said Genovese. “The story segments in the special communicate the loyalty, admiration and dedication between them.”
The CMA Music Festival network television special first aired in 2004. This marks the third consecutive year the special will air on ABC. “CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock” is a CMA production. Robert Deaton is the executive producer, and Gary Halvorson is the director. The special was shot in high definition and will be broadcast in 720 Progressive (720P), ABC’s selected HDTV format, with 5.1 channel surround sound.
The annual CMA Music Festival is unlike any other, taking place over four days and featuring more than 100 hours of concert performances, 30 hours of autograph signings with more than 400 artists and celebrities participating. The 2007 CMA Music Festival was the biggest in history with more than 191,000 attendees representing every state and 21 foreign countries.
2008 CMA Music Festival will take place Thursday through Sunday, June 5-8, in Downtown Nashville, and tickets are selling fast. Music enthusiasts, who want to experience the excitement of the Festival firsthand, can order tickets by calling 1-800-CMA-FEST (262-3378); visiting http://www.cmafest.com/ to download an order form to fax or mail; or visiting http://www.ticketmaster.com/ to buy online or charge-by-phone at (615) 255-9600. Prices do not include applicable handling fees. Ticket prices are subject to change without notice. All sales are final and non-refundable. Children 3 years and younger are admitted free.
For up-to-the-minute information about tickets, travel information, schedules, artists appearing at 2008 CMA Music Festival and more, visit http://www.cmafest.com/ and sign up for CMA Exclusive, a periodic e-newsletter with exciting artist features and Country Music news.
CMA Music Festival is organized and produced by the Country Music Association. CMA Board member Tony Conway is the Executive Producer of CMA Music Festival. Premiere Radio Networks is the official radio broadcaster. Chevy: The Official Ride of Country Music. Fan Fair® is a registered trademark of CMA.