CMA Fest has already announced its dates for 2020 — June 4th through 7th, if you’re curious — but country-music fans can relive this past June’s massive festival in Nashville with ABC’s three-hour concert special, hosted by Thomas Rhett and Kelsea Ballerini. Premiering, Sunday, August 4th, at 8:00 p.m. ET, CMA Fest compiles performances by Dan + Shay, Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, and the ubiquitous Lil Nas X with Billy Ray Cyrus and Keith Urban. Here’s highlights we think you just can’t miss.
Carrie Underwood and Joan Jett, “Bad Reputation”
Hands down, the coolest surprise guest of CMA Fest was Joan Jett. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame badass tore through a medley of her hits with Carrie Underwood, giving the country star an excuse to indulge her rocker side while reminding country fans that everyone has a little punk in them.
Midland, “Mr. Lonely”
Midland sure know how to make an entrance. Pulling up to the stage in their pink limo, the Texas-based trio delivered a whip-smart take of their current single, “Mr. Lonely,” mixing Dwight Yoakam croon with Eagles harmonies.
Tim McGraw and Luke Combs, “Real Good Man”
Luke Combs — is there nothing he can’t do? Leave it to country’s fastest rising superstar to find a way to elevate a performance by no less than Tim McGraw. This is one pairing of two real good dudes that we wouldn’t mind seeing again.
Pistol Annies, “Sugar Daddy”
“Give me some sugar, daddy,” coo the Pistol Annies in a nuanced performance that, in lesser hands, might get swallowed up by such a massive venue. This trio’s no-nonsense attitude and sense of humor, however, reaches all the way to the stadium’s upper decks.
Maren Morris and Brandi Carlile, “Common”
Morris and Carlile’s sublime rendition of this track off Morris’s Girl album highlights why the pair make such natural bandmates in the Highwomen. Who says country-pop and Americana can’t mix?
Chris Janson, “Good Vibes”
TV doesn’t do Chris Janson justice — he’s simply too dynamic to be properly caught on camera. Even so, his easygoing “Good Vibes” proves why he landed a slot on the big stage and the big show.