Thomas Rhett and Kelsea Ballerini Return to Host 'CMA Fest,' Airing Wednesday, August 8, on ABC

By Steve Dove | Jun 5th, 2018

The Country Music Association has announced that Thomas Rhett and Kelsea Ballerini will return for a second year as hosts of CMA Fest, the three-hour special that brings country music's ultimate fan experience to a national television audience. CMA Fest airs WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 8 (8:00–11:00 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network and is executive produced by Robert Deaton. "This year's CMA Fest is our biggest yet with many artists debuting full sets on the Nissan Stadium stage," said Sarah Trahern, chief executive officer, CMA. "We're thrilled once again to broadcast CMA Fest and bring the festival to millions of country music fans not only here in the U.S. but all around the world."

CMA Fest host Kelsea Ballerini performing on-stage during CMA Fest 2018

"Thomas and Kelsea are the embodiment of the summer fun that is CMA Fest, and we are so excited they'll be back for year two," said Rob Mills, senior vice president, Alternative Series, Specials & Late-Night, ABC Entertainment.

Filmed during Nashville's annual CMA Fest, Thursday, June 7, through Sunday, June 10, the television special features more than 25 of country music's biggest names as they hit the stage during the four-day event. 2018 marks the 15th consecutive year of the broadcast, a feat no other U.S. music festival has achieved. Last year's broadcast of CMA Fest achieved three-year ratings highs.

Ballerini will perform at Nissan Stadium Saturday, June 9, in addition to appearing as Artist of the Day at Xfinity Fan Fair X on Sunday, June 10. A limited number of four-day tickets for the nightly concerts at Nissan Stadium, which also includes four-day access to Xfinity Fan Fair X, are still available at CMAfest.com/tickets or through the CMA Box Office at 1-800-CMA-FEST.

CMA Fest is unlike any other with live music on 11 official stages throughout downtown Nashville; meet and greets and up-close-and-personal experiences for fans at Xfinity Fan Fair X; over 300 acts donating their time in support of music education through the CMA Foundation; and nearly 90,000 country music fans from the all over the U.S. and abroad flocking to Music City each summer. All of CMA Fest's outdoor daytime stages, as well as nightly shows at the Cracker Barrel Country Roads Stage at Ascend Amphitheater, are free and open to the public. Fans can purchase the CMA Fest Nash Pass for $60 plus fees, allowing a limited amount of fans VIP early access at the Cracker Barrel Country Roads Stage. The Nash Pass also includes a Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum tour, Ryman Auditorium tour and four-day admission to Xfinity Fan Fair X. Tickets for Xfinity Fan Fair X are available for $10 each day or $25 for a four-day pass. 

Guided by the generosity of the country music community, proceeds from CMA Fest are used to drive the CMA Foundation's mission of enriching and sustaining music education programs. Through strategic partnerships, professional development and grant distribution, the CMA Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)(3), has invested over $21 million in 85 programs across the national public school system, after-school programs, summer camps and community outreach organizations.

Don't miss a beat—download the CMA Fest app, or get connected with CMA on CMAfest.comFacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube, and sign up for CMA Country Connection emails to receive the latest news as soon as it's announced.