NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The rain didn’t stop thouands of country music fans from packing out Nissan Stadium for Night one of the CMA Music Festival.
It paid off for those fans that stuck it out as there were a number of surprises.
Tanya Tucker and Brandi Carlisle brought a classic sound to the crowd, pop duo The Chain Smokers joined Kelsea Ballerini on stage and top selling country duo Brooks and Dunn played a pop up set.
While all of the artists were among the top in the business, the night kicked off with students performing in front of the massive crowd from Nashville School of the Arts.
It was a fitting start to the 4 day festival that supports music education.
The CMA Foundation gives to more than 40 music education initiatives across the country and it’s one of the drives for the artists that all perform for free.
“For me, music education changed my life for my little brother. My little brother was bad and he loved guitar and he loved drums and music education honestly kept him out of a lot of stuff, because that would just take his mind away, you know instruments, learning and honetsly I feel like music education will take kids even further than what they think they could go,” Kane Brown told News 2.
Thomas Rhett said his band teacher inspired him to form a band in 5th grade.
“Drums was like my first instrument that I played and I joined this band called the pit band I think when I was in 5th grade. I think I played one football game as a pit band drummer. That really encouraged me to start this terrible band called the high healed flip-flops in 5th grade and if it weren’t for that I really don’t know if I would have kept pursuing music the way I did. I’m sure it would have come back around at some point but that really sparked my fire for being in front of people and writing songs and so I think music education is one of the most important things in the world,” Rhett explained.
Thomas Rhett doesn’t play the stage until Friday tonight, but he will be on the stage all 4 nights of the festival as he co-hosts the TV broadcast for his 4th year.