Best Fan-Friendly Act: Colt Ford
Colt Ford played a big role in country rap becoming a thing, so it's fitting that he'd make a return appearance on CMA Fest's second-largest stage, the Riverfront. Though with "Dirt Road Anthem," which Ford co-wrote, performed by both Jason Aldean and Brantley Gilbert at LP Field, it'd have shown respect to invite him out on that stage as well. Nonetheless, Ford delivered his good-time rhymes in a baggy, brawny drawl at his American flag-flying mike stand. Mostly the songs were family-friendly, except for the occasional lyric about "doing body shots of Jäger," and plenty made backwoods joyriding sound like the ultimate way to waste a weekend. Ford saved "Dirt Road Anthem" for last, and directed the festival film crew to train their cameras on the crowd singing along, instead of on him. For a guy whose business includes boasting over beats, Ford seemed pretty dedicated to making his music about his audience.