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Behind the Scenes at CMA Fest 2024: Best Performances, Artist Interviews, Parties and Pop-Ups

Behind the Scenes at 2024 CMA Fest
Jason Kempin/Getty Images; Terry Wyatt/WireImage

There’s always something going on in Nashville, but the CMA Fest 2024 will be talked about for months.

“This is such a special week,” Carly Pearce exclusively told Us Weekly at the annual fan-filled event which was hosted by Jelly Roll and Ashley McBryde.

Pearce, 34, was one of more than 300 acts who took over Music City from Thursday, June 6, to Sunday, June 9. During the four-day festival, attendees could see live music on multiple stages day and night and enjoy activities all over Nashville’s lower Broadway.

“The way that I describe CMA Fest is [fans] give us so much, and this is our one weekend to kind of all unify together and bring unique experiences as a genre, as a family together for them,” Pearce said. “This is for them.”

Stars Gone Country

Related: See Halsey, Nelly and More Stars Who Went Country

In addition to performing an intimate set for her fans over the weekend, Pearce hosted her third-annual Carly’s Closet.

“I kind of had this idea of having a bonafide yard sale meets Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,” Pearce told Us of her pop-up shop, which gives shoppers the ability to handpick items that the singer once wore. “I have so many clothes every year that I wear once or twice and then it’s out. So, [fans] wear them to my shows and it’s really cool.”

Scroll down for a behind-the-scenes look at the best performances, parties and activities from CMA Fest 2024. Plus, Us gives fans an inside look at our best artist interviews from the weekend.

Chapel Hart Has Ultimate Fangirl Moment With Dolly Parton

Behind the Scenes at 2024 CMA Fest
Mickey Bernal/Getty Images

Chapel Hart’s Danica Hart, Devynn Hart and Trea Swindle had their own fangirl moment to kick off CMA Fest when they were introduced to Dolly Parton.

“Every country music fan has on their list to meet Dolly Parton one day, and today, our dream came true. We got to meet Dolly Parton in the flesh,” Danica exclusively told Us before the music-filled weekend officially began. “Dolly held these two hands. I used to make fun of people who say, ‘I’m never washing these hands again.’ I need a bathroom break in a little bit and I got some decisions to make because do I wash them or no?!”

Swindle chimed in saying that Parton’s “outfits are even more fabulous up close than they are on the screen.” She also revealed that Parton, 78, smelled like “baby’s dreams and angel tears.”

Post Malone Surprises Nashville

Behind the Scenes at 2024 CMA Fest
John Shearer/Getty Images for CMA

Post Malone wowed concertgoers on Thursday when he performed his hit “I Had Some Help” as part of the Spotify House event at Ole Red Nashville. Fans got an added treat when the musician introduced Blake Shelton, who owns the bar, as his “guest” for the set. The twosome sang “Pour Me a Drink” for a rowdy crowd. Post Malone also performed for fans at Nissan Stadium over the weekend.

Dustin Lynch Hosts the Wildest Pool Party

Behind the Scenes at 2024 CMA Fest
Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Dustin Lynch was the life of the party during his Dustin Lynch Pool Situation party at the Margaritaville Hotel Nashville on Thursday. During the daytime bash, 3 Doors Down surprised partygoers as the special guests. (The pool party was not officially part of the CMA Fest activities, but still drew a crowd.)

“It involves drinking and mullets,” Lynch, 39, teased of the party vibe during an interview with Country Now. “We’re giving away mullets. Free mullets.”

New Music By Thomas Rhett

Behind the Scenes at 2024 CMA Fest
Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Thomas Rhett commanded the stage on Thursday and garnered cheers from fans when he performed not one, but two new songs. He sang “Gone Country,” which was released earlier this month before belting out “Beautiful As You.”

Rhett, 34, ended his set with his 2015 hit “Die a Happy Man,” changing the last line of the song to be, “I think if Nashville, Tennessee is the last show I ever, ever, ever get to play/ I think that I could die a happy man.”

Lainey Wilson Joins Keith Urban

Behind the Scenes at 2024 CMA Fest
Terry Wyatt/WireImage

Lainey Wilson’s dance card was full throughout CMA Fest. One of her most memorable moments was when she was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry on Friday, June 7.

The following day, she took over Nissan Stadium for her rocking show. “The whole world done gone country y’all, and I’m loving every single minute of it,” Wilson, 32, said at the end of her set. Later that evening, Wilson had a sit down with Keith Urban before sharing the stage for their song, “GO HOME W YOU.”

Kelsea Ballerini Gets ‘Therapy’ on Stage

Behind the Scenes at 2024 CMA Fest
Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Kelsea Ballerini took fans back to the beginning of her career during her Friday performance, singing, “Love Me Like You Mean It,” “Dibs” and “Yeah Boy” off her first album. Ballerini, 30, then performed Rolling Up the Welcome Mat’s “Penthouse” and “Blindsided” — just miles away from the home she shared with ex Morgan Evans, who inspired the best-selling EP. Once she finished she revealed, “Well, that was therapy.”

Brooke Eden Recalls ‘Insane’ Wedding Day Thanks to Trisha Yearwood

Behind the Scenes at 2024 CMA Fest
Erika Goldring/Getty Images; Jason Kempin/Getty Images

During Friday’s festivities, Us caught up with Brooke Eden and got all the details on her “absolutely insane” wedding, which included Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks being part of the ceremony.

“Trisha and Garth have been such incredible supporters [of] both Hilary [Hoover] and I, our relationship, my career, her career and all the things,” Eden, 35, gushed, noting that Yearwood, 59, was her and Hoover’s officiant.

Eden recalled Yearwood being “honored” by the role and as they grew closer planning the ceremony, Brooks, 62, also wanted to be involved. “We were at their house one day and we were just kind of talking about how we wanted the ceremony to go, and Garth walked in and we were like, ‘You wanna sing us down the aisle?’” Eden said. “And he was like, ‘I would be honored. What song?’ And we were like, ‘To Make You Feel My Love.’ And yeah, it was wild.”

Cody Johnson and Jelly Roll Make a Dynamic Duo

Behind the Scenes at 2024 CMA Fest
Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Cody Johnson used his time on stage on Friday to honor his home state of Texas with a tribute to The Charlie Daniels Band and a rendition of “Long Haired Country Boy.” Johnson, 37, then brought Jelly Roll, 39, out on stage for their duet “Whiskey Bent.” Jelly Roll performed his own songs on Saturday, June 8.

Kimberly Perry Teases Possible Band Reunion

Behind the Scenes at 2024 CMA Fest
Jason Davis/Getty Images

Kimberly Perry sat down with Us on Friday to discuss how “cool” it’s been to take a break from The Band Perry. “I think we — Reid [Perry], Neil [Perry] and I — have traveled together since I was 15, Reid was 10, Neil was 8. It’s a long time to be with each other but also live one identity as like siblings,” Kimberly, 40, shared. “And then over the last couple years, I’ve gotten married, Reid is married [and] Neil’s engaged.”

Kimberly and her brothers announced their hiatus in March 2023, but she isn’t sure how much longer it’ll last. “I also miss playing music with the boys, like, it’s what we’ve known since we were kids,” she explained. “I think the cool thing about music these days is you can go in all of these different directions, do what you love and let it all fall under the umbrella of Kimberly in The Band Perry, Kimberly [as a] solo [artist].”

She teased that fans “never know” if a band reunion could be “right around the corner.” Kimberly is also ready to form a “supergroup” alongside the next generation of Perrys.

Machine Gun Kelly Stuns With The Chicks Cover

Behind the Scenes at 2024 CMA Fest
Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Machine Gun Kelly went viral on TikTok after he took over Spotify House at Ole Red Nashville on Friday — even though his performance wasn’t officially part of the CMA Fest activities. The musician, 34, sang a beautiful rendition of The Chicks’ “There’s Your Trouble” while playing guitar to his newfound country fans.

HARDY Brings the Party With Multiple Guests

Behind the Scenes at 2024 CMA Fest
Jason Kempin/Getty Images

HARDY had the crowd on their feet from start to finish on Sunday. After jamming out to his new tracks “PSYCHO” and “SIX FEET UNDER (Caleigh’s Song),” the singer, 33, brought Big & Rich’s John Rich and Big Kenny to the stage for “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy.”

HARDY kept the special guests coming as Lauren Alaina joined him for “One Beer” before Pearce helped him sing “Wait in the Truck,” which was originally performed with Wilson.

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