Artist - Jelly Roll @ CMA Fest 2024 1

The Biggest Takeaways from CMA Fest 2024 – Day 2

June 24, 2024 5:40 pm GMT
Last Edited June 27, 2024 11:35 am GMT

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If day one of CMA Fest 2024 brought the heat, the second day was a true scorcher.

With another jam-packed slate of artists, from viral sensations like Shaboozey, to award-winning hitmakers like Cody Johnson, it was a treasure trove all around for CMA Fest attendees all across Music City.

The cherry on top, as if the official CMA stages weren't enough, the Friday lineup at Spotify House delivered one show-stopping set after another, with thrilling appearances from Keith Urban, Machine Gun Kelley and more all day long.

In case you weren't able to make it to Music City – or want to relive the magic like us – Jelly Roll and Ashley McBryde will host the CMA Fest TV Special, airing on Tuesday, June 25 at 8/7c on ABC, and streaming on Hulu the next day.

<p>Artist - Shaboozey @CMA Fest 2024 1</p>


If you weren't at Shaboozey's show at the Good Molecules Reverb Stage, we're sorry to inform you, but you missed the biggest moment of CMA Fest.

Making his festival debut, it's clear that the year's appearances were scheduled months ago since Shaboozey could've packed out a larger stage like the Riverfront with ease.

With the crowd reaching capacity way before he even took the stage, fans were forced to fill up the side streets to catch a glimpse of one of country's newest superstars, and his set did not disappoint. Playing old cuts and new, from 'Tall Boy' and 'Drink Don't Need No Mix,' to 'Vegas' and 'Annabelle,' the country rapper was visibly emotional as he shared his appreciation for country fans' support and welcome into the genre's mainstream. As the energy reached a fever pitch, he ended his set with his breakout hit, 'A Bar Song (Tipsy),' running through the song twice and burning the stage down two times over.

It was a moment out of a movie as a sea of fans screamed along to the viral tune, proving that Shaboozey is a name that we ought to get familiar with. He won't be going anywhere anytime soon and you just can't help but root for him.

Best Song: 'A Bar Song (Tipsy)(Jack Daniels Version)'

- Lydia Farthing

<p>Artist - Cody Johnson @ CMA Fest 2024 1</p>

Cody Johnson is the artist's artist and one of the very best

Throughout CMA Fest week, artists and fans alike have been singing the praises of proud Texan Cody Johnson, with Jelly Roll knighting him "one of the greatest to ever do it" on that very stage while introducing him.

You can see why he holds Johnson in such high stead, with the 'Til You Can't' singer delivering a blistering 8-song set that captured the restless and euphoric heart of what makes him such a captivating songwriter and musician.

Bouncing onto the stage for his tribute to his home state in 'That's Texas', Johnson pounded his chest and whipped up the crowd with an assuredness and delivery that you can't ignore - a true entertainer and performer of the levels of Brooks and Strait.

Where last year Johnson marked his debut CMA Fest appearance by bringing Reba out for 'Whoever's in New England', this year it was the Tennessean hero Jelly Roll who joined him, performing their duet 'Whiskey Bent' for the first time.

Another special performance in a day full of highlights, Johnson cemented just why he's one of the best to do it.

Best Song: 'Whiskey Bent' (With Jelly Roll)

- Ross Jones

<p>Artist - Kelsea Ballerini @ CMA Fest 2024 1</p>

Kelsea Ballerini Is In Her Prime At Nissan Stadium

After being essentially snubbed from the CMA Fest lineup last year, Kelsea Ballerini came out onto the Nissan Stadium main stage with nothing short of a vengeance during night two of the 2024 event.

Armed with an arsenal of hits spanning from day one – like 'Love Me Like You Mean It' and 'Dibs' – to her most recent effort's offerings – such as the simply stunning 'Mountain With A View,' 'Penthouse' and 'Blindsided' – the country-pop starlet proved why she is an enduring figure in modern country music.

Showing off some of her best vocal performances to date, and effortlessly weaving a beautiful storyline of highs and lows, Ballerini truly stole the show at Nissan Stadium on Friday night and didn't leave any crumbs on the main stage.

Best Song: 'Penthouse'

- LF

<p>Artist - Riley Green @ Spotify House 2024 1</p>

Riley Green performs at Spotify House during CMA Fest at Ole Red on June 7, 2024, in Nashville, Tennessee

Riley Green Showcases His Star Quality at Spotify House

As Riley Green strode coolly onto the Spotify House stage, you could feel the temperature immediately rise, with Riley oozing the confidence and swagger of a man who knows the charisma and star-quality he possesses. He played the role to perfection, flashing a smile and offering a wink in-between lyrics, as he seamlessly worked his way through a setlist pivoting around the rural, rugged and down-home pride the ‘Georgia Time’ hitmaker has become synonymous with over the years.

Each time the addictive hook for his rowdy hit single, ‘Different ‘Round Here’, came around, it felt more and more like a pointed mission statement than a casual ode to small town living.

The steamy ‘Worst Way’ and the infectious ‘There Was This Girl’ both drew fervent responses from the crowd, and highlight the increasing diversity Riley is incorporating into his sets. The crowning moment, however, was ‘I Wish Grandpas Never Died’, an evocative, stirring reflection on what matters most in a life lived ‘Round Here’.

Best Song: ‘I Wish Grandpas Never Died’

- Maxim Mower

<p>Artist - Dylan Gossett @ CMA Fest 2024 1</p>

Dylan Gossett

Dylan Gossett's rise to the forefront of country has been quite the spectacle to behold.

Closing out the Riverfront stage with a phenomenal 4:45pm set, he sent the crowds out into the night with a burst of down home, Texas tunes that we will be humming for weeks to come. Rolling through some of his biggest songs from his growing discography, the crowd screamed along to cuts like 'If I Had A Lover,' 'Bitter Winds,' 'Somewhere Between' and his breakthrough single, 'Coal.'

The more than willing audience were locked in to his stripped-back, organic batch of tunes, which also saw him deliver the unreleased 'Back 40,' a pleading cry to return to simpler times.

Gossett oozes humble star power, something that also brought him to the Platform stage at the coveted Nissan Stadium on Thursday night.

Best Song: 'Coal'

- LF

<p>Artist - Tyler Braden @ CMA Fest 2024 1</p>

Tyler Braden Brings a Newfound Edge to His Chevy Vibes Set

Boasting a gravelly, weighty voice that hits you like a freight train rattling along at 100mph, Tyler Braden has emerged as one of the break-out artists of 2024 - and for good reason.

During his Chevy Vibes set at CMA Fest 2024, he brought a powerful stage presence and unrivalled vocal prowess as the up-and-coming Alabama singer-songwriter reeled off fan-favourites from his impressive discography, such as ‘Friends’ and ‘Try Losing One’.

‘The Devil You Know’, however, was the highlight of this invigorating set, with Tyler Braden firing off a fearsome array of warning shots to anyone that dares to cross him (“Cross the line, I'll call your bluff / Promise when push come to shove / That you don't want that smoke / Better the devil you know than the devil you don't”). The viral track carries an edge we hadn't seen from Braden before, and serves as a tantalising sign of what's to come from this fast-emerging prodigy.

Best Song: ‘The Devil You Know’

- MM

<p>Artist - Karley Scott Collins @ CMA Fest 2024 1</p>

Karley Scott Collins

The Good Molecules Reverb Stage was the place to be on Friday, with a long string of simple killer acts taking the stage from noon on. The first of the artists that proved to be must-see was Karley Scott Collins, who waltzed out promptly at 12:55pm.

Ringing in the release of her new EP, Write One, she perfectly married her grungy brand of country with her rocker sensibilities, pumping high voltage energy into the packed audience.

From her originally Charley Kelley-graced 'How Do You Do That,' to muddy versions of 'Heavy Metal' and 'Marlboro Reds,' she also showed off her country rock roots with a rowdy version of Jason Aldean's 'She's Country' that the crowd simply ate up.

The Reverb stage eventually reached capacity as people filed in to find a spot for Shaboozey's show-stopping set that followed, but it's safe to say that Collins earned a new legion of fans by the end of her show.

Best Song: 'Write One'

- LF

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Written by Lydia Farthing
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