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CMA Announces ‘Best of Fest’ Television Special

This summer can still be salvaged! 

Written by Lauren Laffer
CMA Announces ‘Best of Fest’ Television Special
Luke Bryan; Photo credit: Jim Wright

CMA Fest may have been canceled this year, but the show must go on. The Country Music Association announced that its yearly television special on ABC will air later this summer, but will feature the best performances from past fests.

Dubbed CMA Best of Fest, the three-hour special airing July 13 at 8/7c on ABC will highlight more than 25 stand-out performances from past CMA Fests and will be hosted by country superstar Luke Bryan.

Performing in the special will be Trace Adkins, Lauren Alaina, Jason Aldean, Kelsea Ballerini, Dierks Bentley, Garth Brooks, Brooks & Dunn, Brothers Osborne, Kane Brown, Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Eric Church, Luke Combs, Billy Ray Cyrus, Dan + Shay, Lzzy Hale, Sam Hunt, Joan Jett, Lady A, Miranda Lambert, Lil Nas X, Little Big Town, Tim McGraw, Maren Morris, Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts, Thomas Rhett, Darius Rucker, Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Dwight Yoakam and Zac Brown Band, with special appearances by Bobby Bones, Jim Gaffigan, Kirk Herbstreit, Peyton Manning, Lionel Richie, Rob Riggle, Gwen Stefani, Michael Strahan and Rita Wilson. In addition to the retrospective, Bryan and Rucker will do a brand new performance during the broadcast.

Lindsay Ell and Jimmie Allen will kick off the festivities on July 1 with the CMA Summer Stay-Cay presented by Budweiser Nitro Gold. The multi-hour livestream event will take place on the CMA YouTube and Facebook pages and will feature more than 50 country stars performing, playing games, participating in Q&As and much more. The full lineup for the Stay-Cay special will be revealed in the coming days on the CMA Fest app and CMASummerStayCay.com.

Both events are filling in for this year’s 2020 CMA Fest, which was canceled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The festival will return to downtown Nashville June 10-13, 2021.