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Thomas Rhett and Kelsea Ballerini Return to Host the 2019 'CMA Fest' Airing Sunday, August 4, on ABC

By Jim Donnelly | Jun 4th, 2019

The Country Music Association has announced country music superstars Thomas Rhett and Kelsea Ballerini will return to host "CMA Fest," the music event of the summer, with multimedia personality Bobby Bones tapped as a special guest host. "CMA Fest," the three-hour prime-time concert special, which brings country music's ultimate fan experience to a national television audience, airs SUNDAY, AUG. 4 (8:00 – 11:00 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network.

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

"This year's CMA Fest offers something for every music fan," says Sarah Trahern, CMA chief executive officer. "From surprise collaborations to some of country music's most exciting, emerging and legendary talent, we're excited to bring the festival to millions of fans around the world later this summer."

"'CMA Fest' is always the summer's must-see music event with the biggest names in country music," says Rob Mills, senior vice president, Alternative Series, Specials & Late-Night Programming, ABC Entertainment. "With Thomas Rhett and Kelsea Ballerini returning for their third year, and Bobby Bones joining them as special guest host, we know this summer's festival will knock it out of the park."

Filmed during Nashville's annual four-day CMA Fest, Thursday through Sunday, June 6–9, the television special features more than 30 performances and surprise collaborations onstage at Nissan Stadium. 2019 marks the 16th consecutive year of the broadcast, a feat no other U.S. music festival has achieved. Last year's broadcast generated ABC's top summertime non-sports ratings, leading ABC to the most-watched network that night (source: Nielsen Media Research).

Thomas Rhett returns to host "CMA Fest" for a fourth year, first co-hosting the special in 2016, while Ballerini returns for a third year. Ballerini takes the Nissan Stadium stage to perform this Thursday, June 6, while Thomas Rhett performs Friday, June 7.

"CMA Fest" is executive produced by Robert Deaton. More than 300 artists perform at CMA Fest, donating their time so a portion of ticket proceeds can directly benefit high-quality music education initiatives across the United States through the CMA Foundation. CMA Fest is unlike any other, with tens of thousands of country music fans descending upon downtown Nashville for four straight days of live music on 11 official stages, as well as meet-and-greets and up-close-and-personal experiences for fans at Xfinity Fan Fair X. CMA Fest's outdoor daytime stages are free and open to the public. All stage lineups are available in the Official CMA Fest App as well as CMAfest.com. Artist lineups are subject to change.