Eric Church Addresses Fans’ Disappointment Over CMA Fest Performance

The country singer says he was “shocked” over the wave of disappointment on social media.


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

July 14, 2023


3:49 pm

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Eric Church is responding to the backlash he faced following his CMA Fest performance on Saturday, June 10 in Nashville, Tennessee.

According to social media, fans were outraged after the North Carolina native’s CMA Fest set reportedly ended abruptly. Fans also expressed that Church’s set didn’t include several of his signature hits (including “Springsteen”), and many of the songs featured a whole new arrangement. 

The changes Church made to his set sparked a conversation amongst the fans and a wave of disappointment on social media.

“Eric Church ended very weird set and disappointed 50,000 fans. I don’t know if he was pissed off at the CMA or what. Lights come on only 4 songs in and it’s done. Major disappointment at the CMAs,” one fan wrote on Twitter, while another added, “A lot of disappointed and confused people tonight with @ericchurch but going back and watching the video it definitely looks like he just finished the set and said goodnight… about 8 minutes early #cmafest.”

Eric Church Addresses The Situation

Now, in a new interview with Rolling Stone, the country superstar is addressing the situation, admitting that he was “shocked” at the criticism he received.

“I was shocked because I played the show that I went out there to play,” Eric Church said. “We had a time slot and I went out there to play that slot and try to show a little bit, a peek, as to what I was working on for this tour. I’m not going to [reveal] everything, but I’m going to give a little peek of what this could be.”

He went on to explain his intentions and clarify certain production elements that were out of his control, including when the stadium lights suddenly turned on at the end of his set when fans thought he was going to return for an encore. However, Church did not return to the CMA Fest stage as he completed his allotted 30 minute time slot. 

“There were a couple of production things that I was not responsible for — when the lights went up, that wasn’t me. But for what I went to do, it was fast and hard. And the shows are that way,” Church continued. 

While Eric Church didn’t go too much into detail, he did acknowledge that his CMA Fest set was to give fans a sneak peek of his new material and offer a sample of what fans can expect from The Outsiders Tour, including the new musical arrangement for many of his songs.

“All the songs are different. All the songs were changed. It was punchy. I didn’t play ‘Springsteen,’ because I have a new version of ‘Springsteen.’ You’ve got to come to a show and see it,” Church added.

CMA Fest TV Special

Fans will be able to re-live part of Eric Church’s performance of “Smoke A Little Smoke” and “Bad Mother Trucker” on Wednesday, July 19 at 8/7c during the CMA Fest TV special on ABC.

Church is currently in the midst of his headlining trek, dubbed The Outsiders Tour, which kicked off on June 22 at American Family Insurance Amphitheater in Milwaukee, WI. 

The Outsiders Revival Tour

Eric Church’s The Outsiders Revival Tour will visit 26 cities across the U.S. and Canada.

Produced by Live Nation, the highly anticipated tour features a number of special guests on various dates, including Whiskey Myers, Cody Jinks, Jelly Roll, Ashley McBryde, Koe Wetzel, Lainey Wilson, Midland, Parker McCollum, Travis Tritt, Elle King and Paul Cauthen, plus Jackson Dean, Morgan Wade, Muscadine Bloodline, Shane Smith & The Saints, Hailey Whitters, Ray Wylie Hubbard and The Red Clay Straws.

Church’s Outsiders Revival Tour is unlike anything Eric Church has ever done in his career thus far as the trek is only visiting outdoor venues.

The Outsiders Revival Tour comes after Church’s 55-city The Gather Again Tour, which offered fans an in-the-round show and earned the Billboard Music Award for Top Country Tour.

Later this year, Eric Church is expected to open his six-story Lower Broadway bar, Chief’s

He gave fans a first look at the renderings for the much-anticipated establishment that will include a rooftop BBQ restaurant, an intimate music venue and more. Click HERE for the first look.

“I am beyond excited to not only bring Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ to Music City, but to also partner with my good friends Eric and Ben on this project,” Scott shared. “Anyone who knows me, knows that I love music – so the opportunity to expand the brand in partnership with an award-winning musician makes this project extra special! I can’t wait to share our Carolina roots and our whole hog BBQ with the incredible people of Nashville.”

On June 1, Eric Church shared another look inside the bar with a rendering on Instagram.

Chief’s is expected to open at 200 Broadway later this year.

Eric Church 2023 Tour Dates


14 – Cincinnati, OH – Riverbend Music Center !+

15 – St. Louis, MO – Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre !+

28 – Dallas, Texas – Dos Equis Pavilion Midland – /

29 – Austin, Texas – Germania Insurance Amphitheater – /


4 – Raleigh, NC – Coastal Credit Union Music Park (

5 – Bristow, VA – Jiffy Lube Live (

11 – Indianapolis, IN – Ruoff Music Center (

12 – Chicago, IL – Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre (

13 – Des Moines, IA – Iowa State Fairgrounds Iowa State Fair

18 – Orange Beach, AL – The Wharf Amphitheater <>

19 – Orange Beach, AL – The Wharf Amphitheater <>

25 – Holmdel, NJ – PNC Bank Arts Center =

26 – Philadelphia, PA – Freedom Mortgage Pavilion =


8 – Portland, OR – RV Inn Style Resorts Amphitheater *)

9 – George, WA – Gorge Amphitheatre *)

15 – Albuquerque, NM – Isleta Amphitheater ?)

16 – Phoenix, AZ – Talking Stick Resort Amphitheatre */

22 – Atlanta, GA – Ameris Bank Amphitheatre =

23 – Charlotte, NC – PNC Music Pavilion =

29 – West Palm Beach, FL – iTHINK Financial Amphitheatre =

30 – Tampa, FL – MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre =


7 – Bristol, TN – Bristol Motor Speedway – Country Thunder Bristol

^ Elle King

# Ashley McBryde

$ The Red Clay Strays

% Parker McCollum

& Morgan Wade

~ Koe Wetzel

@ Shane Smith & The Saints

! Travis Tritt

+ Muscadine Bloodline

( Cody Jinks

= Whiskey Myers

* Jelly Roll

) Hailey Whitters

< Lainey Wilson

> Jackson Dean

? Paul Cauthen

– Midland

/ Ray Wylie Hubbard

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Lauren Jo Black

Written by

Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for and her work being featured on She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.