The 2017 CMA Fest Recap: Collaborations, Surprise Appearances & More!

The 2017 CMA Music Festival has come to a close, but as usual was four days full of unforgettable music and performances.

From a surprise appearance by Garth Brooks, collaborations by Darius Rucker and Karen Fairchild, to new music debuted by Kelsea Ballerini, Nashville's CMA Fest was a pretty exciting event. Miranda Lambert also hosted the first Miranda MuttNation March on Friday afternoon, June 9, at the Nissan Stadium. Lambert, along with boyfriend Anderson East, teamed up with the organization to host the walk to raise money for animals in shelters.

Though not on the lineup, Garth Brooks made an unexpected appearance on Thursday, June 8, on the Nissan Stadium stage and performed a few of his greatest hits to an elated crowd. The hitmaker played “The Dance," “The Thunder Rolls," “Friends in Low Places" as well as some newer tunes, like “Ask Me How I Know".

Similar to Brooks, Darius Rucker is a musical veteran who has an arsenal of hits under his belt and a hot ticket for any country fan at the CMA Fest. However, Rucker's most memorable stage moment on the CMA Fest's final night had to be when Little Big Town's Karen Fairchild joined him for a duet of his single “If I Told You".

Though traditionally a solo, Rucker and Fairchild's collaboration perfectly highlighted the duo's voices during the chorus. The country stars' chemistry was also undeniable and easily extenuated the tortured undertows of the song. While his solo rendition is a clear fan favorite, Rucker could easily record a new version collaborating with Fairchild.

Watch Rucker and Fairchild's duet in the video below:


Another memorable moment from the 2017 CMA Music Festival was Kelsea Ballerini's debut of new music from her upcoming sophomore album. On the second night, June 9, performed a few of her well-known hits “Love Me Like You Mean It", including her crowd-pleasing hits like “Peter Pan," “Dibs" and “Yeah Boy". However, Ballerini's performance of her new songs “Legends" and “I Hate Love Songs" were the real favorites of the night.

Listen to Ballerini's performance of “I Hate Love Songs" below:


For more on the CMA Music Festival, look through our photo gallery's reliving each days most memorable performances here.