Trace Adkins, Brooks & Dunn, Sara Evans, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Montgomery Gentry, Brad Paisley, LeAnn Rimes and Carrie Underwood are on the initial list of artists appearing at the 2006 CMA Music Festival, organizers announced Monday (Feb. 13). The event takes place June 8-11 in downtown Nashville.
Others returning in 2006 include Jessica Andrews, Steve Azar, the Bellamy Brothers, Lane Brody, Sonny Burgess, Terri Clark, Billy Currington, Linda Davis, Emerson Drive, Jace Everett, the Fox Brothers, Andy Griggs, Hot Apple Pie, Con Hunley, Buddy Jewell, Brice Long, the Oak Ridge Boys, Ray Scott, Blake Shelton, Keni Thomas, Mark Wills, Trent Willmon, Darryl Worley, Chely Wright and Michelle Wright. This year's festival will also mark the first appearances by newcomers Susan Haynes and Danielle Peck.
Billed as Country Music's Biggest Party, the CMA Music Festival features 30 hours of autograph signings, 70 hours of live music and 400 country artists and celebrities. The four-day festival evolved from Fan Fair, an event established in 1972.
The festival gives fans a chance to witness performances by some of country's superstars while providing an introduction to brand new acts. Still, the event allows younger artists a chance to build and solidify a fan base that is famous for its undying devotion.
"Anytime I get to be around the fans it's always a good time, especially during Music Fest," Currington said. "The CMA puts together an event that allows artists to make that personal connection with the fans, and it's wonderful. I look at it as our chance to give back to them and let them know we appreciate their support."
Looking back at the early stages of her national career, Lambert said, "I can still hardly believe that I performed last year on the same stage that I watched the country icons perform on so many times growing up. I have had an amazing year since the release of Kerosene last March. Being asked to perform at the Coliseum again this year is icing on the cake. When you are on that huge stage it hits you that you are singing for the people who truly love country music. It's a little intimidating but exciting at the same time."
Underwood had only recently won TV's American Idol talent competition when she made her debut at the 2005 festival.
"Nashville was so great in welcoming me to CMA Music Festival last year, and I am so excited to be coming back again this year," she said.
Tickets to the 2006 CMA Music Festival are available from Ticketmaster.