CMA Music Festival 2018: 30 Best Things We Saw

From Carrie Underwood and Chris Stapleton's main-stage stunners to breakout sets by Ashley McBryde and Dillon Carmichael

Best Ready for the Big Time: Carly Pearce
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Jordan O'Donnell1/30

Best Ready for the Big Time: Carly Pearce

With the wind in her sails from a big CMT Awards win, Carly Pearce was prepared to show the crowd at Riverfront Stage just why she deserved the honor. Her brief midday set was studded with shimmering anthems from her debut, charming asides between her songs and a commanding stage presence that showed her ability to work a crowd while belting the big tunes or strutting to jams like her current single "Hide the Wine." The opening chords of Pearce's chart-topping hit "Every Little Thing" got a roar of approval from the crowd, who all seemed perfectly happy to be hearing a gut-wrenching ballad in the blazing afternoon sun. It's easy enough to see, she's ready for even bigger stages. J.F.