NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The 50th rendition of CMA Fest is off and running in Nashville, attracting fans from all over the globe.

For some artists, taking the festival stage is a full-circle moment.

Carly Pearce first came to CMA Fest at nine years old and went from an attendee to playing nearly every stage at the festival, formerly known as Fan Fair.

“I think I’ve played every stage available for the last 13 years since I’ve moved here, and now to be able to play my first full set from (Nissan Stadium) is so special,” Pearce said.

Thursday also marked a first for singer Jordan Davis, who told News 2 he fell into being an artist backwards, with his songwriting taking the spotlight first.

“I truly never dreamed I’d be playing on stage and get to play tonight,” Davis said.

Of course, no CMA Fest is complete without seasoned veterans. Those like Jo Dee Messina have watched the festival evolve over the last half century with one thing always remaining the same: the fans.

Messina, Pearce, Davis, Luke Combs, Dan + Shay, Tyler Hubbard, and King Calaway all had the honor of gracing the Nissan Stadium stage on night one, delighting fans from the floor to the upper levels. Click here for the full festival schedule.