Thomas Rhett & Kelsea Ballerini Return To Host ‘CMA Fest,’ Bobby Bones Joins As Guest Host

2019 marks the 16th consecutive year of the broadcast on ABC.


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

June 4, 2019


11:47 am

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Thomas Rhett, Kelsea Ballerini, Bobby Bones; Photo Courtesy CMA-ABC

The Country Music Association announced today that country superstars Thomas Rhett and Kelsea Ballerini will return to co-host the annual CMA Fest special, airing later this summer on ABC. Joining the pair as a special guest host is multi-talented media personality Bobby Bones.

“‘CMA Fest’ is always the summer’s must-see music event with the biggest names in country music,” says 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.”

More than 300 artists will perform at CMA Fest 2019, which runs Thursday, June 6 through Sunday, June 9.

Taking the stage for the nightly shows at Nissan Stadium is an all-star lineup featuring Kelsea Ballerini, Dierks Bentley, Brothers Osborne, Kane Brown, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Luke Combs, Billy Ray Cyrus, Dan + Shay, Florida Georgia Line, Chris Janson, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Tim McGraw, Jo Dee Messina, Maren Morris, David Lee Murphy, Old Dominion, Pistol Annies, Rascal Flatts, Thomas Rhett, Marty Stuart, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban and Brett Young.

Recipients of the CMA KixStart Artist Scholarship, Kassi Ashton, Travis Denning and Jameson Rodgers, will also perform, while Lindsay Ell, Runaway June and Jimmie Allen will make appearances to sing the National Anthem.

The three-hour concert special will air Sunday, August 4 at 8/7c on ABC.

A portion of ticket proceeds from CMA Fest benefits music education initiatives across the country through the CMA Foundation.

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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.