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[04/20/17 - 08:09 AM]
Kelsea Ballerini and Thomas Rhett to Host "CMA Fest 2017" Special, Airing This Summer on ABC
The announcement that Ballerini and Thomas Rhett would serve as hosts this year was made Thursday morning on ABC's "Good Morning America."

[via press release from ABC]

KELSEA BALLERINI AND THOMAS RHETT TO HOST 'CMA FEST 2017' SPECIAL, AIRING THIS SUMMER ON THE ABC TELEVISION NETWORK

CMA Music Festival is not only the ultimate country music festival experience for fans from all over the world to attend, it's also the only music festival with its own annual network television special. This year, that special will be hosted by two of country music's hottest stars, Kelsea Ballerini and Thomas Rhett. The pair will team up to host "CMA Fest 2017," the three-hour special that brings country music's most storied festival to a national television audience this summer on The ABC Television Network, executive produced by Robert Deaton.

The announcement that Ballerini and Thomas Rhett would serve as hosts this year was made Thursday morning on ABC's "Good Morning America."

"I've grown up going to CMA Fest as a fan, and last year, getting to perform on the big stage, was one of the most epic memories I'll ever have," said Ballerini. "And now, being able to host with my current tour mate Thomas Rhett is just going to be another crazy thing off the bucket list. I can't wait to test out my hosting skills and perform again this year!""

"I always look forward to CMA Music Fest," added Thomas Rhett. "Ever since I was there as a fan sitting in the nosebleeds to hosting this year with Kelsea, it's always been one of the biggest weeks in country music that is all about the fans. I'm pumped."

Ballerini has launched to stardom after releasing three consecutive No. 1 smashes from her critically acclaimed debut album, "The First Time," the Platinum-certified "Love Me Like You Mean It" and "Peter Pan," and Gold-certified "Dibs," making her the only female artist in country music history, including female duos and groups, to achieve this accolade. The singer-songwriter wrote or co-wrote all 12 songs on her debut. Top 5 and climbing with "Yeah Boy," Ballerini is currently in the studio working on her second album - as Entertainment Weekly named her among The 35 Most Anticipated Albums of 2017. The Black River Entertainment artist was featured as one of Forbes' "30 Under 30" class of 2017. She's been named "The Country Sweetheart" in People Magazine's elite "Ones to Watch" portfolio, praised by Rolling Stone as the "Nashville It Girl," touted by Billboard Magazine as "Country's Next Queen," and selected as one of CMT's Next Women of Country. After her 2016 headline THE FIRST TIME TOUR - which visited dozens of cities across the U.S. and included sold-out shows in her hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee; Minneapolis, Minnesota; New York City; Los Angeles; and more - she joined Thomas Rhett for his "Home Team Tour," to be directly followed by a fall run with Lady Antebellum's "You Look Good World Tour." For more information visit KelseaBallerini.com, and reach out to her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

With "a sky-rocketing Country career" ("Today"), Thomas Rhett is preparing for the highly anticipated 2017 release of his third studio album, kicking things off with the "driving, sexy" (Rolling Stone) lead track, "Craving You," featuring Maren Morris. New music follows seven trips to the No. 1 position on the Country radio charts and his Platinum-certified release "Tangled Up Deluxe" (The Valory Music Co.), which includes the Double Platinum, Grammy-nominated, six-week chart topping smash "Die A Happy Man." The record-breaking track is the reigning CMA Single of the Year and garnered major trophies from the "Billboard Music Awards" and "CMT Music Awards." Thomas Rhett is exciting fans as he performs new music on his headlining 2017 "Home Team Tour," one of Rolling Stone's most anticipated tours of this year. After drawing capacity crowds overseas last year, he returns as a "force to be reckoned with" (Daily Star) with plans to return to Europe while also making his debut headlining run in Canada in addition to U.S. dates. For more information and for a full list of upcoming tour dates, visit thomasrhett.com.

Filmed during CMA Music Festival June 8-11 in Nashville, the special features many of today's most exciting country music stars, as they hit the stage during the four-day celebration of America's music. The annual event is unlike any other, with meet-and-greets in Fan Fair X, live music on 11 stages, hundreds of artists and celebrities, and a guest list of 88,500 avid singing-and-dancing-till dawn fans.

A limited number of tickets for the Nightly Concerts at Nissan Stadium are still available at CMAfest.com or through the CMA Box Office at 1-800-CMA-FEST. Outdoor daytime stages, including Chevrolet Riverfront and Park Stages, Budweiser "Forever Country" Park Stage, Gildan Broadway Stage at Hard Rock Cafe, and the Music City Stage inside the Nashville Visitor Center at Bridgestone Arena at are free and open to the public.

Funds generated through CMA Music Festival ticket sales for the Nightly Concerts and Fan Fair X benefit music education. Since 2006, CMA and the CMA Foundation have donated more than $17.5 million to support quality, sustainable music education initiatives across the country on behalf of the artists who participate in the event for free, impacting the lives of one million children through the power of music.

For upcoming talent announcements and all other info stay connected with CMA on CMAfest.com, Facebook.com/CMA, Twitter.com/CountryMusic, Instagram.com/CMA, "CMAsnaps" on Snapchat, and sign up for CMA Country Connection, CMA's e-newsletter. This year's app is now available in the App store for iPhone and Android and includes features that allow fans to create individual concert schedules and be the first to know which of their favorite stars will be appearing on the free stages throughout the Festival.

CMA Music Festival is organized and produced by the Country Music Association. Fan Fair(R) is a registered trademark of WSM, Incorporated and is used by permission.





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