Randy Travis Makes Rare Appearance During CMA Fest

The 2022 CMA Fest was packed with a star-studded lineup of some of country music's greatest. Fans descending upon Nashville, Tennessee from Thursday, June 9 through Sunday, June 12 had the chance to sing along with icons including Carrie Underwood, Luke Combs, Luke Bryan, and more, but it was a surprise appearance on one of the final nights of the annual music festival that gifted fans with a truly exciting experience as Randy Travis made a rare appearance at CMA Fest.

The Country Music Hall of Famer, 63, took the stage at Ascend Amphitheater for The Nighttime Concerts event, which returned for the fourth time, on Saturday night. The audience was brought to their feet as headliner Cole Swindell welcomed Travis onstage, telling the audience that Travis is "one of his biggest influences." As Swindell invited the crowd to "please say hello" and "make some noise" for Travis, the crowd erupted in cheers as they celebrated Travis' appearance. Following Travis' brief onstage appearance, Swindell continued his set, which marked one of several sets to take the Ascend Amphitheater stage. Other performers included Chris Janson, Mitchell Tenpenny, Ingrid Andress, Avery Anna, Randall King, Shy Carter, and Tyler Braden.

Travis' Saturday night CMA Fest appearance came exactly a year to date since the country music icon expressed his desire to return to the Nashville-set music festival. Back in June 2021, months after the festival's organizers made the decision to cancel the event for the second time in two years, Travis took to Twitter to express his excitement for the 2022 festival. Sharing several photos highlighting his own history with CMA Fest, he wrote, "I have so many wonderful memories of [CMA Fest] and can't wait for the much-anticipated return next summer! Mark your calendars – June 9-12, 2022!"

Jackson's onstage appearances have been limited ever since he suffered a stroke in 2013 after struggling from congestive heart failure. Years later, Jackson still suffers from aphasia, a difficulty with language or speech, according to The Sun. He has not released any new albums since 2014, in part due to his health issues.

Travis' impact on country music is undeniable. After releasing his debut album Storms of Life in 1986, Travis went on to become one of the biggest multi-genre record sellers of all time. Throughout his storied career, he has taken home seven Grammy Awards, 11 Academy of Country Music statuettes, 10 American Music Awards, two People's Choice awards, seven Music City News awards, eight Dove Awards from the Gospel Music Association and five Country Music Association honors. In 2016, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Garth Brooks honored Travis with the Artist of a Lifetime award during the 2021 CMT Artist of the Year celebration.