Keith Urban, Eric Church, Alan Jackson among 21 acts playing nightly shows at LP Field in Nashville
Keith Urban and Little Big Town Karen Fairchild, performing here at the 2014 CMA Music Festival are among the headliners for the 2015 festival.
Each summer, the CMA Music Festival takes over the clubs, conference and NFL football stadiums downtown Nashville. It's like the own version of Country Music South by Southwest, less barbecue buffets and pedal steel guitar arrangements.
Some of the best moments occur during off hours, like the time Charlie Worsham Krispy Kreme donuts brought his 10 a.m. concert fan club, or late-night duo Marty Stuart Travis Tritt at the Ryman Auditorium. Still, the evening concerts at LP Field have always been the bread and butter of CMA Fest, attracting crowds as large as 50,000. Attending these concerts stadium is like getting the latest education in the past of country music and present, with a handful of rock & roll cameos- the appearance of Richie Sambora with Zac Brown Band last year in Lenny Kravitz fish out of water established in 2013 - thrown in for good measure.
Today, the CMA LP revealed the lineup for this year's festival, which begins on Thursday, June 11 and runs until Sunday 14. Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Brett Eldredge, Florida Georgia Line, Sam Hunt, Alan Jackson, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Neal McCoy, Oak Ridge Boys, Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts, Thomas Rhett, Darius Rucker, Cole Swindell, The Band Perry, Keith Urban, Zac Brown Band, and Wynonna and Big Noise are scheduled to take the big stage, with a maximum of six events for each night.
Who is missing from the list of elite country? Garth Brooks to begin with. Almost a decade ago, Brooks signed autographs for 23 consecutive hours during the festival of 1996, while their fans ordered breakfast in line and patiently waited their turn. Apart from a private performance for the Seminar Radio Country festivities last week, however, Brooks has yet to schedule their first shows in Nashville since December 2010, when he staged a week of concerts at the Bridgestone Arena to help raise money for flood repairs. Similarly, Shania Twain, who announced his farewell tour this morning, is absent from the lineup.
Meanwhile, a series of acts that have played at LP Field in the past - including Hunter Hayes, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood, Jake Owen, The Band Perry and Tim McGraw - are also missing in action payroll this year. The same goes for Kenny Chesney, although to be one up the competition playing a much larger stage, the Georgia Dome, the same weekend.
The four-day tickets for CMA Music Festival, including access LP evening concert are sold out.