Rodney Atkins Kicks off CMA Fest 2018 with 8th Annual Music City Gives Back Benefit Concert

Atkins — along with stars like Big & Rich, Drew Baldridge, and Ashley McBryde — used their talents to raise money for a local Nashville music school.

Rodney Atkins hosted the 8th Annual Music City Gives Back benefit concert at Ascend Park on Monday (June 4) to welcome fans who arrived early for an unofficial kickoff of the 2018 CMA Music Festival in Nashville, TN.

Since 2010, Atkins and the city of Nashville have teamed up to put on this benefit show as a way to give back to other communities that have gone through traumatic experiences. Due to an overwhelming response of positivity from the Nashville community, the benefit has been a staple in CMA Fest schedules for eight years and counting.

When it came to finding an organization to raise money for this year, Rodney said choosing W.O. Smith Nashville Community Music School was an easy pick. “I went to the school, met the kids and jammed with the kids… for me, that is life changing,” Atkins told CS Country backstage at the concert.

“When I was a kid, when I was learning to play a D chord and a G chord and learning to play guitar, it kept me out of a lot of trouble,” he continued. “I didn’t know what music therapy was, but now I know it’s a real thing… and it’s the future of Nashville.”

Thanks to all for being @musiccitygivesback

A post shared by Rodney Atkins (@rodneyatkins) on

Atkins recruited some famous friends of his to round out this year’s lineup, including Big & RichDrew Baldridge, Travis Denning, and Ashley McBryde.

“One of my biggest memories from CMA Fest is sitting in the back and watching Rodney Atkins, and Dustin Lynch play this show [Music City Gives Back Benefit Concert]. I would stand in the back and I would watch these guys, and just watch the production that was there, and watch the crowds reaction to all these people’s songs, and I would just dream of that. Now, we’re playing this event, and it’s just really cool and humbling,” performer Drew Baldridge spilled to CS Country.

In addition to the electrifying concert, some Nashville’s most notable rising stars took time out of their day to sign autographs throughout the afternoon. With a lineup including Kip Moore, William Michael Morgan, and Tegan Marie, fans came out in large crowds to meet their favorite artists all while raising money for music education.

Since 2011, Music City Gives Back has raised over $50,000, and every year it just keeps getting better! This week’s show was the perfect way to start our CMA Fest, and we can’t wait to see what’s to come from the organization down the road. Shout out to Rodney Atkins for putting on such an amazing event!

Written by Chelsea Cannon

Chelsea is a staff reporter for Celeb Secrets Country. She graduated in 2015 with her BA in Multimedia Journalism then spent 3 years working in radio. She recently moved to Nashville, TN from South Florida to pursue her dreams of working in the music industry!