By Amy Vandivort
ABC had another banner year entertaining at CMA Music Festival, inviting everyone near The Buckle Stage to participate in family fun, games and contests, as well to meet their favorite actors. Hosted by “General Hospital” cast member Bradford Anderson, the ABC Summer Block Party was held at The Buckle Stage on Friday and continues at the same time Saturday.
Fans streamed into the tent to watch the band Port Chuck, made up of “General Hospital” cast members Anderson, Brandon Barash, Steve Burton and Scott Reeves, play covers of Billy Idol’s “White Wedding” and Jet’s “Are You Gonna Be My Girl.” When no more fans would fit inside the area, they hovered in the sun, taking advantage of the space by moving around and dancing. The four-man ensemble closed with Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama,” and the crowd roared, marking a memorable end to their set.
Later in the day, Port Chuck answered questions from fans. It was a nice way for concert goers to see these personalities come out of their shells and step away from the characters they play on TV. “General Hospital” fan Jessica Gilbert, 22, from Beach Haven, N.J., was happy to see the actors up close, as she has been watching the daytime drama since she was 16. “They were some of the nicest guys,” she said. “They deserve all the fame and success they get.”
Between stage events, ABC showed sneak previews of its upcoming primetime shows, including the one-hour drama, “Nashville,” starring Hayden Panettiere and Connie Britton, and the sitcom, “Malibu Country,” starring Country superstar Reba. Audience members who enjoyed these also had the chance to view a screening of the pilots of these shows in the National Convention Center. Early Friday morning, “Nashville” cast members Clare Bowen and Sam Palladio visited also visited with fans.
However, these TV stars were not the only attractions provided by ABC. Fans took pictures in front of a backdrop of their favorite ABC show, including “Once Upon a Time”; spun the prize wheel; played “Malibu Country” bean bag toss and “The Chew” plinko games; and sang karaoke. The network set up a prize booth so that participants were rewarded for their enthusiasm: The more you participated, the larger your prize. Fans won ABC trinkets and free food; one of the prizes offered was a free grilled cheese from local food truck, The Grilled Cheeserie, which was set up next to The Buckle Stage.
ABC’s Country Music coverage continues with the broadcast of “CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock” Monday, Sept. 17, at 8|7c. Superstars Luke Bryan and Kimberly Perry of The Band Perry host the special.
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