Change and growth are important components of the 2016 CMA Music Festival, as the multi-day country music event spreads out and secures new talent to represent it on a national scale.
To that end, former tour mates Brett Eldredge and Thomas Rhett are taking over hosting duties for the annual ABC TV special "Country's Night to Rock," which will air August 3rd at 8 p.m. Main stage performers at Nissan Stadium who may be filmed for the program include Carrie Underwood, Eric Church, Chris Stapleton, Luke Bryan and others. Vocal quarter Little Big Town hosted the previous three years of "Country's Night to Rock."
Additionally, the annual festival scheduled this year for June 9th-12th will continue to engulf downtown Nashville by adding the new Ascend Amphitheater to its venue lineup with the main AT&T Skyview Stage and the smaller Budweiser Acoustic Stage. The free opening ceremonies for Music Fest will be hosted on the Skyview Stage Wednesday, June 8th and include appearances by Chris Young, Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, the Fish Jubilee Singers and Metro Nashville Public Schools students benefited by funds raised during the festival. After the opening ceremonies, the official Kick Off Concert featuring SiriusXM Highway Finds will hit the Skyview Stage. Performers will include Old Dominion, Aubrie Sellers, Frankie Ballard, Clare Dunn and others.
Through Sunday, June 12th, the stage will host performances by Bobby Bones and the Raging Idiots (co-billed with the Wonderful Women of Country, including Jana Kramer, Cassadee Pope, Hillary Scott, Maddie & Tae and others), Sara Evans, Ashley Monroe, Shenandoah and numerous others. These afternoon performances are open to 4-day CMA Music Festival ticketholders and will be hosted by Nashville-area radio personality Dennis Banka and actor RJ Mitte (Breaking Bad). Also at Ascend, the smaller Budweiser Acoustic Stage will welcome up-and-coming performers including Kree Harrison, Jillian Jacqueline, Post Monroe, CJ Solar and others.