Dierks Bentley Talks Hosting CMA Fest TV Special with Elle King and Lainey Wilson—“It’s a Dream Come True”

Summer just got a little hotter! Three of country’s brightest stars, Dierks Bentley, Elle King, and Lainey Wilson, have joined forces to take the reins for CMA Fest, a three-hour concert extravaganza honoring the 50th anniversary of CMA Fest. The television special features one-of-a-kind performances recorded in June at Nashville’s Nissan Stadium. 

Videos by American Songwriter

The lineup trumpets some of the industry’s biggest names, including Cody Johnson, Darius Rucker, Eric Church, HARDY, Jason Aldean, Jelly Roll, Jo Dee Messina, Jordan Davis, Keith Urban, Leon Bridges, Little Big Town, Luke Combs, Tanya Tucker, Vince Gill, and more.

As we approach the highly-anticipated event, American Songwriter caught up with Bentley to get the scoop on his hosting duties before the big day.

[RELATED: Who’s Performing on the CMA Fest 2023 TV Special and How to Watch]

American Songwriter: This is your second year hosting the event. What brings you back?

Dierks Bentley: It’s still surreal for me…I started out as an intern for CMA and now I’m hosting the biggest party of the summer. It’s a dream come true. Our fans are so special and I look forward to this every year, whether I’m hosting, seeing old friends, or discovering new artists.

AS: What is your favorite part of hosting the show?

DB: Hosting CMA Fest is the ultimate gig. Getting to do it alongside Elle and Lainey makes it even
more fun. On top of being ridiculously talented, they are a blast to be around. You never know
what they are going to say, but I can guarantee you’ll have a great time and laugh non-stop.

AS: What can we expect from the show this year?

DB: It’s the 50th year anniversary and there are some special guests and collaborations that really
honor the history of this event. Our fans travel from all over the world to be here and I think this
year’s show really helps honor that connection with the fans and the gratitude we have for them.

AS: Are there any bloopers or fun moments during the filming of the special we should know about?

DB: Tons, but probably nothing that can ever air on national television.

AS: Why should everyone tune in to watch the special?

Country music is always evolving while honoring its past. You get to see Tanya Tucker
absolutely kill it while being introduced to new rising voices like Jelly Roll. There were so many
moments that I just soaked in as a fan, there is nothing like it.

Don’t miss one of country music’s hottest events of the summer when CMA Fest airs on Wednesday, July 19 at 8/7c on ABC. The show will be available for playback on Hulu on July 20.

For more info on the CMA Fest TV Special:

Dierks Bentley, Elle King, and Lainey Wilson Announced as Hosts for CMA Fest TV Special
‘CMA Fest’ Set List Includes Miranda Lambert, Luke Combs, Lainey Wilson
Who’s Performing on the CMA Fest 2023 TV Special and How to Watch

Photo by Hunter Berry / CMA

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