For country artists, CMA Fest is a benchmark: It happens annually, and each year, performers get to watch their careers grow from the smallest stages all the way up to a headlining slot at Nissan Stadium.
“CMA Fest, for me, has been huge,” says Luke Combs, one of this year’s main stage artists. Though he’s playing Nissan Stadium now, he had to work his way up through the ranks, and looking back on his early years at the festival is a chance to see how his career has grown.
“It’s like this moment in time that exists at the same time every year,” the singer continues. “And you go, ‘Okay, last year I did the stage in the hotel lobby, and now I’m doing the stage in the bar. And then you’re at Riverfront, and then you’re at Ascend, and then you’re here.”
“Here,” of course, is Nissan Stadium: The pinnacle of the festival, where every artist playing CMA Fest hopes to one day end up.
“You can really watch your career progress,” Luke continues. “Obviously, Nissan is the thing that you want to be able to do, and I’m lucky to have gotten to do that.”
CMA Fest 2022 happened in June, but fans can revisit all the action in the CMA Fest television special, which is airing on ABC on August 3. Dierks Bentley and Elle King will host the show.
Fans who tune in will get a front-row seat to all the performance highlights of the most recent festival, including Luke’s set. The special will feature his performances of “Beer Never Broke My Heart” plus his new single, “The Kind of Love We Make.”