CMA Fest may be scheduled to within an inch of its life, but there are still some genuine spontaneous moments for fans over the fest’s four days. With just 45 minutes of notice on Thursday, Hunter Hayes issued an invite on Twitter for followers to join him for a pop-up show outside Nashville’s Ole Red on Broadway.
Seated at a multi-colored piano surrounded by fans and cell phones, Hayes relied on the small crowd to deliver the chorus of his 2012 chart-topper “Wanted.” At the beginning of the above clip, with the noise of the crowded streets behind them, Hayes tells them, “Obviously, we can kind of hear each other, but I want you guys to sing with me so that everybody on freaking Broadway will hear us.” Mid-song, the singer stands up and continues to play, then sits back down taking the role of conductor so his accompanying chorus can follow the song’s tempo. In addition to his pop-up appearance, Hayes played a scheduled set at Spotify House, which has also set up camp at Ole Red.
Outdoor events at CMA Fest on Thursday were met with intermittent rain falling throughout the day and into the night, and on Friday morning, heavy downpours delayed several scheduled events. In spite of the weather, Thursday night’s opening show at Nissan Stadium was highlighted by the unexpected appearance of Tanya Tucker and Brandi Carlile, who replaced Marty Stuart after the musician cancelled his set due to a “personal family matter,” according to the CMA. Brooks & Dunn, who made a surprise appearance during the set of Brothers Osborne, were themselves joined by Ashley McBryde on “You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone.” Also taking the stage throughout the night were Kane Brown, Kelsea Ballerini (joined by the Chainsmokers), Rascal Flatts and Florida Georgia Line.