The heat was out in full force early on as day 3 of CMA Music Festival 2016 kicked off, but good music is hard to pass up! We caught up with Mo Pitney at the Chevrolet Cruze Park Stage and enjoyed seeing this gifted singer-songwriter for the first time. Later in the day, the Park Stage played host to Kentucky natives Halfway To Hazard. Members David Tolliver & Chad Warrix impressed the crowd with their amazing vocals and harmonies, but also entertained with their humor and charming personalities.
It certainly wasn’t a tropical vacation for those fans camped out in front of the Chevrolet Riverfront Stage, but that didn’t stop them from spending their day there to see some of their favorite artists. Rising star Canaan Smith rocked the stage, with a level of energy that made our jaws drop as we barely felt like moving! A special moment in his set came when Smith was presented a Platinum Single plaque for “Love You Like That”. The singer beamed with excitement and stayed so pumped about it that as his set drew to a close, he gave the audience quite a show! Playing a drum during his final song, Smith then picked it up and smashed it into the stage before jumping to a platform below in order to toss the drum to a lucky fan in the crowd. It was nothing if not entertaining!
Michael Ray also offered up a great Riverfront show, flashing his signature smile at the crowd as he belted out songs like “Kiss You In The Morning” and “Run Away With You”. Ray is sure to continue finding success as an artist – he’s way too good not to!
With that, we headed over Nashville’s pedestrian bridge and towards Nissan Stadium. Legends, rising stars, and even a rock ‘n roll icon awaited us and the thousands who were attending the show that night. Marshall Tucker Band began the night with the National Anthem and their harmonies were absolutely on point – it was an incredible performance!
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band kicked off the music and did so with a great set, but they really got the crowd going when they began playing their #1 hit “Fishin’ In The Dark”. Everywhere you looked, fans were singing along to every word – such a fun thing to witness!
Chris Young made his return to the CMA Fest stage, to the excitement of many in the stadium. The talented singer filled the air with his seemingly flawless voice as he delivered his hit songs and then had duet partner Cassadee Pope join him onstage to perform their smash hit “Think Of You”. The audience roared with approval as the two harmonized and then asked the crowd to join in the singalong.
Cole Swindell just radiates happiness and seeing him on the CMA Music Festival stage just amplified that. He loves performing and makes it known every time he does. While his catchy “Chillin’ It” and “Ain’t Worth The Whiskey” were fun to hear and see, Swindell brought it all home when he slowed things down and talked about how much the next song meant to him. Fans light up the stadium with their cell phones as they sang along to Swindell’s moving “You Should Be Here” and as he looked into the sky, you knew he was feeling a million emotions at once.
The boys of Florida Georgia Line always hit the stage like a lightning bolt. CMA Fest fans saw that firsthand as Tyler Hubbard & Brian Kelley cranked out hits “Sundaze” and “Cruise”, but slowed things down long enough for Hubbard to take a spot at the piano while Kelley sat on a barstool for current single “H.O.L.Y.”. The song, a tribute to their wives, made for a quiet, beautiful moment in an otherwise energy-filled set and sounded amazing live.
What would’ve otherwise been an unexpected performance made sense at CMA Music Festival, since Steven Tyler has recently crossed over into the country genre. Tyler did perform some of the songs from that endeavor, but stayed true to his Aerosmith roots as well, kicking off his set with “Sweet Emotion” and later being joined by Martina McBride for an incredible version of the band’s “Cryin'”. It was an amazing thing to see a musical legend and Tyler’s performance was fun to watch!
Who better to spend your Saturday night with that Mr. Blake Shelton? After performing a couple songs that were being recorded for the CMA Music Festival TV special (including “She’s Got A Way With Words”), Shelton told the crowd that the real party was about to begin since the cameras were being turned off. In addition to his hits like “Ol’ Red” and “Boys Round Here”, Shelton made things even more fun when his buddies The Oak Ridge Boys joined him onstage and they all knocked out a great rendition of “Elvira”. The night was full of excitement and surprises and with one day left to go, CMA Fest still had so much to offer fans. Stay tuned for our day 4 coverage – up soon!