The CMA Music Festival fans at Nashville's LP Field demonstrated their dedication to country music Saturday night when severe thunderstorms delayed the nightly concert's start time by two hours. Instead of heading back to their homes or hotels to dry off, the rain-soaked fans packed the stadium to see Keith Urban , Florida Georgia Line , Little Big Town and Darius Rucker perform.
This isn't the first time Darius has seen fans wait out severe weather at CMA Music Festival. A few years ago, the show was delayed for three hours due to heavy rain and lightning. Darius wasn't sure anyone would be left when he went onstage for his late performance.
"I'll never forget stepping on that stage and seeing the whole stadium full. I was like, 'Where were y'all, you know? You're still here,'" Darius recalls. "But it was awesome. That's dedication. They plan their year around this week. This is their week off from work. So, they're going to take everything in and love it, and I love being a part of that."
Florida Georgia Line took to the field at Nashville's Greer Stadium Saturday for the annual City of Hope Celebrity Softball Game. While the duo's Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard got a few turns at bat, they mostly spent time signing autographs and taking photos with the fans in the stands.
Says Tyler, "On weeks like this, we get to give back and we're not always going a 110 miles an hour where we can't spend too much time with 'em. It's a good week for us. We enjoy it for sure."
Miranda Lambert 's new album, Platinum , came out last Tuesday just before CMA Music Festival kicked into high gear. To celebrate the release, Miranda's Airstream trailer, Wanda the Wanderer, was parked right across from the Country Music Hall of Fame for fans to enjoy all weekend long. She also opened a temporary branch of her Pink Pistol boutique in downtown Nashville.
Miranda says, "I've never released an album during CMA Fest. I mean, what better time to release a country music album than the time when all the country music fans are in one place in Nashville. So, it feels really good. It's like this positive energy. "
Even though Miranda has heard nothing but great things about her new album from fans this week, her husband, Blake Shelton , knows she's going to be exhausted after this weekend.
Blake says, "By the time a week like this is over, an album launch mixed with CMA Fest, she's just gonna be a zombie."
That's why Blake went down to their marina on Lake Texoma near their home in Tishomingo, OK to get the boat ready for this week.
"I know that when she gets back she's gonna want to do something like that," Blake explains. "Just to go and just float around and drink or get pulled on the tube or something. She's gonna want some time like that."
Miranda did bring her pal Carrie Underwood out to sing their duet "Somethin' Bad" over the weekend, and Tim McGraw welcomed his wife Faith Hill to sing "Meanwhile Back at Mama's." Little Big Town's Karen Fairchild joined Keith Urban to sing Miranda Lambert's part on "We Were Us" Saturday night.
Speaking of Little Big Town, they were busy this weekend filming spots to host the CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock special on ABC airing August 5. LBT also brought out a full drum line to perform on their new single, "Day Drinking," and fans at LP Field were already singing along to the brand-new song.
Little Big Town's Jimi Westbrook says, "I had some family that was in the back that said everyone around them was singing it as if they'd known it for a long time. So, that was kind of cool."
Thomas Rhett was on the bill at LP Field Sunday night, but he and wife Lauren actually attended other CMA Music Festival concerts as fans this year.
"We came and we got to see Tim McGraw play the other night, and what a superstar he was, or he is still," Thomas says, "And it makes me want to be at that point someday. We always try to get the best CMA experience that we can."
Zac Brown Band brought Richie Sambora on as a surprise guest Sunday night, and Brad Paisley gave the night's final performance at LP Field. Fans can make plans to attend the 2015 CMA Music Festival June 11 through 14. Go to CMAFest.com for ticket information.
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