When the final notes of Luke Bryan’s set close out the 2018 CMA Music Festival on Sunday night at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, the annual country blowout is only half over. In August, the massive concert will be whittled down to a three-hour highlights special – CMA Fest – to air on ABC, hosted for a second year by Kelsea Ballerini and Thomas Rhett.
The concert culls more than 25 performances from the annual four-day festival, which kicks off this Thursday and runs through June 10th. While the majority of the artists featured are shown performing at Nissan Stadium, some songs are filmed in honky-tonks or on other smaller stages around town, many of which are free to the public.
This year’s nightly main stage lineup includes sets by Bryan, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Dierks Bentley, Luke Combs, Blake Shelton and Chris Stapleton, who last year was forced to cancel his Nissan Stadium appearance after injuring his hand. Brothers Osborne were tapped to fill in for the popular singer-songwriter – this year the duo landed their own Thursday-night slot on the main stage.
CMA Fest will air Wednesday, August 8th, at 8:00 p.m. ET on ABC.