Nashville is officially the place to be. The 2014 CMA Music Festival kicked off Thursday (June 5) with a jam-packed day of performances, autograph sessions and so much more.

“These are the hard-core, the most hard-core fans that have traveled a long ways to get here, spent a lot of money to be here, have been getting sunburned all day to be here," Dierks Bentley says of the festival's attendees.

Big & Rich started the day with a performance at the Chevy Riverfront Stage, and despite a little rain, the music kept going late into the night.

At Fan Fair X, LeAnn Rimes was the day's featured artist and one of several to take the stage for roundtable discussions and Q & A sessions.

Many artists offered meet & greets as well.

“You can have a conversation during that and find out, hear people say the things that matter, like, ‘This song on this new record helped me through this situation,’” says Brantley Gilbert. “That makes it all worth the while for me. I’d take that over a check any day of the week.”

Michael Loccisano, Getty Images

Check out some more photos from the day's happenings below. The 2014 CMA Music Festival runs through Sunday, June 8.

Michael Loccisano, Getty Images
Gustavo Caballero, Getty Images
Rick Diamond, Getty Images
Michael Loccisano, Getty Images
Larry Busacca, Getty Images
Larry Busacca, Getty Images