15th Annual “CMA Fest” Earns Network Win On ABC


CMA Foundation Launches It Starts With M.E., First Cause Marketing Campaign
Fans Treated to Carly Pearce Performance at “CMA Fest” Viewing Party at Ole Red Nashville

NASHVILLE—“CMA Fest,” the three-hour primetime television special featuring the hottest acts in Country Music performing from Nashville, returned to television last night, Wednesday, Aug. 8. “A staple of network summertime television” (USA Today) and “the most important stage in country music (outside of awards shows)” (PEOPLE), “CMA Fest” generated ABC’s top summertime non-sports numbers on the night for the year and led the network to finish as the most-watched network on Wednesday night.

#CMAfest trended on Twitter nationally during the three-hour special with social reach up 9.7% from last year’s broadcast totaling 325.8 million as measured through Sprinklr.

During the broadcast, the CMA Foundation launched its first cause marketing campaign, “It Starts With M.E.,” which raises awareness of both the benefits of music education and the impact music has in shaping the next generation of successful leaders. Proceeds from CMA Fest are used to drive the CMA Foundation’s mission of enriching and sustaining music education programs thanks to every performer at CMA Fest donating their time. Visit to learn more about the campaign and to view childhood photos and stories from Country Music stars sharing how music helped mold them into who they are today.

Last night, CMA hosted the first official “CMA Fest” viewing party at Ole Red Nashville, the Blake Shelton-inspired bar, restaurant and music venue in the heart of downtown Nashville’s famed Lower Broadway. Fans were treated to a special performance by Big Machine Records recording artist Carly Pearce before the “CMA Fest” broadcast aired on screens around the fan-packed venue. Pearce, who made her “CMA Fest” television special debut and first-ever Nissan Stadium performance this year, joined hosts Tige and Mari from The BIG 98 for Q&As and fan giveaways throughout the night.

“CMA Fest” will air in 39 international countries including Norway, the U.K. (eight total territories), and Latin America (30 total territories). This year marked the 15th consecutive year of the broadcast, a feat no other U.S. music festival has achieved.

About the CMA Foundation
Established in 2011 as the philanthropic arm of the Country Music Association (CMA), the CMA Foundation is committed to improving and sustaining music education programs across the United States, working to ensure every child has the opportunity to participate in music education. Through strategic partnerships, professional development and grant distribution, the CMA Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)(3), has invested more than $21 million in over 85 programs across the national public school system, after school programs, summer camps and community outreach organizations. Guided by the generosity of the Country Music community, proceeds from CMA Fest, the four-day long music festival held annually in Nashville, are used to power the CMA Foundation’s social impact and unique model of giving.

Carly Pearce performs during the first official “CMA Fest” viewing party Wednesday, Aug. 8 at Ole Red Nashville.
Photo credit: Hunter Berry/CMA
CMA hosts the first official “CMA Fest” viewing party Wednesday, Aug. 8 at Ole Red Nashville. Pictured L-R: CMA Chief Marketing Officer Damon Whiteside, Carly Pearce, and SVP of Programming & Artist Relations for Opry Entertainment and General Manager of the Grand Ole Opry Sally Williams.
Photo credit: Hunter Berry/CMA
“It Starts With M.E.” Logo
Photo credit: CMA