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Everything You Need to Know Before Watching ‘CMA Best of Fest’ Tonight

The TV special will highlight the best moments from CMA Fest over the last 16 years.

Luke Bryan hosts the 2020 CMA Best of Fest TV Special on ABC. (Courtesy of CMA)

The 2020 CMA Music Festival came to a halt back in April when the Coronavirus pandemic restricted large crowds from gathering in places to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

It was the first time since 1972 that Music City wouldn’t welcome hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world to connect Country music fans with their favorite artists. It was a tough time for artists, their crews, fans and even the CS Country team when the news broke.

Keeping our spirits up while we’re socially distanced at home, the Country Music Association teamed up with ABC for a one-of-a-kind TV special, CMA Best of Fest, airing later this evening on the network. Tapped as a “live concert experience,” the three-hour telecast will feature more than 25 unforgettable performances having aired on television over the last 16 years of CMA Fest, plus a brand new, not-to-be-missed performance with Luke Bryan and special guest Darius Rucker.

To make sure you are fully prepared for what’s to come, CS Country put together a cheat sheet on all things CMA Best of Fest. From a complete list of artists and celebs making appearances to where to watch and more, this list has got ya covered.

Courtesy of CMA

When is the CMA Best of Fest TV Special?

CMA Best of Fest will take place TONIGHT, July 13th @ 8/7c on ABC. It will air at 7PM MT, 8PM PT, and 7PM in both Hawaii and Alaska.

Where can you watch the show?

You can watch CMA Best of Fest on ABC and on ABCinstantaccess.com. You can sign up for a service of your choice, most of which offer a free trial period so you can watch the special for $0.

What can we expect from the show? 

CMA Best of Fest celebrates the legacy of CMA Fest, the world’s longest-running Country Music festival taking place in Nashville annually since 1972, which was postponed this year due to safety concerns amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The live concert experience features 28 unforgettable performances having aired on television over the last 16 years of CMA Fest, plus a brand new, not-to-be-missed performance with Luke Bryan and special guest Darius Rucker.

Who is performing? 

We’ll get to see some of 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‘s most iconic moments from CMA Fest spanning for almost two decades.

We know you haven’t forgotten about Lil Nas X, Billy Ray Cyrus, and Keith Urban‘s “Old Town Road” collab in 2019 or Eric Church + Lzzy Hale‘s epic “That’s Damn Rock & Roll” duet in 2014, so that’s why it’s an absolute must-watch tonight. Plus, Bobby Bones, Jim Gaffigan, Kirk Herbstreit, Peyton Manning, Lionel Richie, Rob Riggle, Gwen Stefani, Michael Strahan and Rita Wilson are confirmed to make special appearances throughout the 3-hour telecast.

Is there a host?

Yes and it’s none other than country superstar Luke Bryan — need we say more?

What else do I need to know?

CMA Fest will return to downtown Nashville in 2021, beginning Thursday, June 10  through Sunday, June 13, with a limited number of four-day passes on sale starting Thursday, Sept. 10 at 10:00 AM/CT at CMAfest.com/tickets or by calling the CMA Fest box office at 800-CMA-FEST.

You can also relive CS Country’s favorite CMA Fest moments by reading through our archives here.

Just in case you forgot, make sure to tune in to CMA Best of Fest TONIGHT, July 13th @ 8/7c on ABC! 

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Written by Juliet Schroder

Juliet is the founder and executive producer/host of Celeb Secrets and Celeb Secrets Country. When not reporting on the latest news in pop culture and country music, she enjoys traveling, spending time with friends and family, and exploring the latest fashion trends.

Juliet holds a B.S. in marketing from St. John's University.

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