(contributed by Lindsey Bynum)
The sense that anything can happen during CMA Music Festival was confirmed at LP Field on Friday night, June 11, thanks to a Nashville couple that found time between sets to get married onstage.
John and Casey Feldman tied the knot before thousands of cheering onlookers. Unexpected as stadium nuptials might seem, the groom felt it was a completely natural venue. “I work on the stage crew so I got to get married at work,” he noted.
Earlier, following The Band Perry’s rendition of the national anthem, the real party got started with Julianne Hough. She yelled out to fans, “I know you all know the next one so sing along,” followed by a performance of her hit song “That Song in My Head.”
A deep, soulful voice rumbled through the stadium, jolting the crowd from their seats to see Josh Turner. “I’m extremely grateful for you fans out there,” says Turner. “Thank you for traveling all those miles.” Lights went dark as sounds of a train echoed throughout and Turner sang a fan favorite, “Long Black Train.” Audience members formed their own train, which wound throughout the stadium field. To end his set and kick off his current hit single, Turner only had to ask a simple question: “Why don’t we just dance?”
Kim Griffin, 38, from Albany, Ga., said, “I’ve been coming here for the past eight years and drove seven hours to come to CMA Fest. I came here to see Miranda Lambert’s performance. I can’t wait!”
Griffin got her wish. Lambert opened powerfully with “Famous in a Small Town”. Afterwards, she shared a personal recollection with the audience, saying “I remember exactly where I was sitting when I came to CMA Fest. I’m glad to be a part of this” as she points way up to the very top of the stadium.
After almost two hours of great performances, the audience was nowhere near close to stopping this amazing night. Keith Urban was next in line, and fans couldn’t stay in their seats.
Kristin Poole and Holly Watson, both 18 and from Bel Air, Md., drove all the way to Nashville to see Urban. “Instead of going to the beach like everyone else does, we came to CMA Fest for our senior trip. We’re so excited to see Keith Urban,” Said Poole, who jokingly added, “Keith is my husband so I had to be here for his concert!”
Poole and Watson were not disappointed. Keith Urban stepped out with an all-star band, a three-voice chorus that included Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Roads of Little Big Town and Sarah Buxton, and a mind-blowing performance. Urban sang hit songs “Kiss a Girl”, “Days Go By” and “Sweet Thing” before closing with an unbelievable cover of The Beatles’ “With a Little Help from My Friends”.
“Even though we don’t know each other’s names and faces, everyone is helping each other out” said Urban, tying the message of his finale with the spirit exhibited by residents of Nashville working together to overcome flood damage.
The emcee for the evening, GAC and Sirius Satellite Radio personality Storme Warren, introduced Reba McEntire. She bonded especially with women in the crowd as she prefaced “I Want a Cowboy” with the line, “I’ll bet I’m not the only female who’s fantasized about a good-looking cowboy.” The crowd responded warmly as she delivered an entertaining set that culminated with her hit, “Fancy.”
Kid Rock’s closing set began with a huge ovation, to which the charismatic superstar announced, “Got a few minutes to get this done, so let’s get started!” By the time the night wrapped up at 12:45 with his performance of “Cowboy,” his fans were primed to echo his last words on the LP Field stage: “People all over the world, I love you!”