It seems like every day leading up to the 2013 CMA Fest is the “Unofficial Kick-Off” day to the 4-day event, and this day was no different as it was the final “Unofficial Kick-Off” day. The day started off with a lot of rain, which put a damper on the Kick-Off Parade. Kix Brooks was the Grand Marshall of the parade that kicks off the festivities for the rest of the week.
That afternoon, we paid a visit to the CMA office to pick up our media credentials before stopping in to visit the brand new Music City Center to pick up our LP Field tickets. The new building takes up 2 city blocks and is a majestic piece of architecture that is the new pride of Nashville. After we took care of business, we went back to Broadway to take in the atmosphere as the crowds downtown continued to grow.
After grabbing a bite to eat, we headed into the Bridgestone Arena for the CMT Awards, which were hosted by Jason Aldean and Kristen Bell.
The show kicked off with Aldean performing “American Woman” with Lenny Kravitz, and featured several celebrities in the house such as Larry the Cable Guy, Nicole Kidman, Dog the Bounty Hunter, Kevin Bacon, and more! The Mavericks were in the building as the house band for the night, and while they did a good job, it was disappointing that the tribute to George Jones was as meager as it was.
The night was full of great performances and surprises, and closed with Florida Georgia Line performing their remix version of “Cruise” with Nelly. I was disappointed that George Strait had to cancel his performance, but his father had passed away the day before so it was understandable. Florida Georgia Line, Miranda Lambert, and Carrie Underwood were the big winners of the night, and some of the best performances of the night included Darius Rucker and Lady Antebellum performing “Wagon Wheel,” Kacey Musgraves performing “Blowin’ Smoke,” Hunter Hayes performing “I Want Crazy” out on the Bud Light stage, and Keith Urban performing “A Little Bit of Everything.” Click here to see all of our photos from the CMT Awards!
For a full list of the winners at the 2013 CMT Awards, click here.
As we exited the Bridgestone Arena, we were treated to a surprise performance by Ronnie Dunn, who was playing down to the crowd from the balcony of the restaurant across the street from the arena’s exit. Turns out it was an elaborately planned event, complete with a flash mob, speakers all around town airing the performance, and projections on buildings promoting his new music all around town.
Check out the video posted on his YouTube account after the performance!