CMA Music Fest 2016: 30 Must-See Acts

From the big stadium headliners to newcomers on the Nashville riverfront

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Eric Church
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Christopher Polk/Getty27/30

Eric Church

If there's one thing that the festival — or country music, really — is lacking, it's unpredictability, especially from its marquee stars. Thankfully, Eric Church knows how to keep 'em guessing, whether in his performances or spontaneous album drops. On stage, Church can spend an entire concert by himself with an acoustic guitar, or he can enlist the full thrash of his dynamic band for a full-scale Southern rock fest (and, often, he'll do both of these things in one night). Church hasn't played a proper Nashville set since the release of Mr. Misunderstood, so it's prime time for him to show the town how he's been translating that dynamite LP live: which, lately, has been by kicking off his shows with the stunning "Knives of New Orleans." Friday, Nissan Stadium

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