"Country fans plan their whole year around this week," the Cadillac Three's Jaren Johnston told Rolling Stone Country Thursday before his group's set at CMA Music Fest. That's 85,000 fans to be (well, almost) exact.
The Country Music Association's annual Nashville extravaganza welcomes people from all over the world for four days of non-stop music, plus autograph signings, intimate Q-and-A sessions and much more. The Ram Report crew took our cameras out on the streets, backstage and front of house to capture all of the action of the fest's first day. Watch above as we also talk to Maddie & Tae about their CMA dancing skills, Kip Moore about his fans' singing skills and Tucker Beathard about the significance of the festival.
Other artists performing today and through the weekend include Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Keith Urban, Florida Georgia Line, Eric Church, Steven Tyler, Blake Shelton, Little Big Town and Sam Hunt. Literally hundreds of musicians play CMA Music Fest each year, as several stages are set up all over downtown Nashville.
The CMA donates ticket proceeds from this week's events to music education programs across the country.