Lainey Wilson Wows Fans At CMA Fest With Captivating ‘Watermelon Moonshine’ Performance

“I mean the energy and the fans at CMA Fest, there ain’t nothing like it,’ the country superstar said.

By

Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

July 19, 2023

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Lainey Wilson; Photo by Andrew Wendowski

Lainey Wilson took a break from her CMA Fest co-hosting duties to perform her latest single, “Watermelon Moonshine” on the Nissan Stadium stage. 

As the summer sun sank in the sky, Wilson took fans on a nostalgic journey of first love as she recalled a summer romance throughout the heartfelt lyrics. 

YouTube video

“Drinkin’ watermelon moonshine / Cut the burn with a little lime / Parkin’ back in them kudzu vines / I was his and every bit of that boy was mine / Too young to know what love was / But we werе learnin’ on a sweet buzz / There’s never nothin’ like the first time / And mine’s always gonna taste like / Watermelon moonshine,” Wilson sang, while donning colorful sequin bell bottoms and a crop top and picking her acoustic guitar. 

Lainey Wilson; Photo by Andrew Wendowski
Lainey Wilson; Photo by Andrew Wendowski

The reigning CMA Female Vocalist of the Year had the stadium in the palm of her hands throughout her entire performance, which also featured “Heart Like A Truck,” “Things A Man Oughta Know,” and more.  

“I mean the energy and the fans at CMA Fest, there ain’t nothing like it. They feed off of each other. It’s literally like they all get to come together and they get to see the artists who have written the songs that have changed their life, whether it makes you want to drink a beer or it makes you want to cry. It’s a very special thing to be a part of,” Wilson shared backstage ahead of her performance. 

Lainey Wilson; Photo by Andrew Wendowski
Lainey Wilson; Photo by Andrew Wendowski

The superstar recently brought the song to life with a cinematic music video. Directed by Stephen and Alexa Kinigopoulos, the video flawlessly captures the essence of young love and beautifully portrays the raw emotions and innocent vulnerability that come with it. 

Click below to watch. 

YouTube video

The three-hour CMA Fest special was hosted by Dierks Bentley, Elle King, and Lainey Wilson and aired on ABC on Wednesday, July 19. 

Dubbed “the music event of summer,” the special featured 30+ performances and surprise collaborations from some of Country music’s hottest stars, including Alabama, Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, Leon Bridges, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Luke Combs, Dan + Shay, Jordan Davis, Vince Gill, HARDY, Tyler Hubbard, Jelly Roll, Cody Johnson, Elle King, Miranda Lambert, Avril Lavigne, Little Big Town, Ashley McBryde, Reba McEntire, Tim McGraw, Jo Dee Messina, Old Dominion, Jon Pardi, Carly Pearce, Darius Rucker, Tanya Tucker, Keith Urban, and Lainey Wilson.  

CMA Fest marked its 50th Anniversary with a record-breaking celebration in Nashville, June 8 through June 11. 

Lainey Wilson, Dierks Bentley and Elle King.; Photo by ABC/Robby Klein
Lainey Wilson, Dierks Bentley and Elle King.; Photo by ABC/Robby Klein

The four-day event hosted an estimated daily attendance of over 90,000, a 12% increase from 2022, according to the Country Music Association. Additionally, the nightly concerts at Nissan Stadium saw 10% growth from 2022.

The festival also hosted fans from all 50 states as well as a record-breaking 51 countries.

“What a weekend! As we’ve spent the past year reflecting on this milestone celebration, one theme has persisted—the incredible connection between Country Music fans and the artists,” Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer, shared in a statement. “It’s magical because it still matters after all these years. From first-timers to legends, so many artists started as fans—some as far back as Fan Fair. Almost every artist who performs during the festival has had their own experience as a fan, so for many of them, taking the stage at CMA Fest is a full-circle moment. We only get the chance to celebrate our 50th anniversary once, and to do so in such an impactful way has meant the world to us. Thank you, Country Music!”   

More than 300 acts took part in CMA Fest this year, including performances at the Chevy Riverfront Stage, Dr Pepper Amp Stage, Chevy Vibes Stage, Maui Jim Reverb Stage and the Hard Rock Stage as well at Fan Fair X inside Music City Center. 

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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 Answers.com and her work being featured on Forbes.com. 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.