Kelsea Ballerini, Thomas Rhett Returning to Host CMA Fest TV Special With Bobby Bones

Kelsea Ballerini and Thomas Rhett have been tapped to host the CMA Fest television special for the third consecutive year, with the duo set to be joined by multi-media host Bobby Bones for this year's event.

“CMA Fest,” the three-hour primetime concert special, will air on Sunday, Aug. 4 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. The special will give fans a look at the nightly concerts at Nissan Stadium that take place during CMA Fest, with this year's performers including Carrie Underwood, Eric Church, Florida Georgia Line, Keith Urban, Luke Bryan and more.

Both Ballerini and Rhett will perform during the nightly shows at Nissan Stadium during CMA Fest, with Ballerini taking the stage on Thursday and Rhett on Friday night. On Saturday, Rhett will host an intimate concert at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena to celebrate his new album, Center Point Road, which features Ballerini on the title track.

Ballerini and Rhett have hosted the show together for the past two years, and this year will be the first year they're joined by a guest host. Rhett also co-hosted the special in 2016.

“This year’s CMA Fest offers something for every music fan,” Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer, said in a statement. “From surprise collaborations to some of Country Music’s most exciting emerging and legendary talent, we’re excited to bring the festival to millions of fans around the world later this summer.”

“‘CMA Fest’ is always the summer’s must-see music event with the biggest names in Country Music,” added Rob Mills, ABC Entertainment Senior Vice President, Alternative Series, Specials & Late-Night Programming. “With Thomas Rhett and Kelsea Ballerini returning for their third year and Bobby Bones joining them as special guest host, we know this summer’s festival will knock it out of the park.”

2019 will mark the sixth consecutive year of the show's broadcast and the 48th year of CMA Fest. The festival will see over 300 artists perform at 11 official stages throughout downtown Nashville, with the musicians donating their time so that a portion of ticket proceeds can go toward the CMA Foundation.


The CMA Foundation benefits music education initiatives across the country, including providing students with access to music education and providing educators with the resources to create sustainable programs.

Photo Credit: CMA/ABC