Carrie Is the Life of the Nashville Party
There were big stars and big surprises in Nashville for the CMA Music Fest, which drew a record attendance of more than 161,000. Among those gathered at Riverfront Park and LP Field for "country music's biggest party" were Martina McBride, Brooks & Dunn, Brad Paisley, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Gary Allan, Sara Evans, Los Lonely Boys, Hank Williams Jr., Sugarland, Wynonna, Billy Ray Cyrus, and Trisha Yearwood.
Crowd favorite Carrie Underwood also performed, sporting a frilly bustier and short shorts, looking svelte and glamorous. "It's been a great week!" she shouted to the audience. "It wasn't too long ago, I was sitting out there with y'all."
The festival also included three surprise guests: CMA Horizon Award winner Dierks Bentley on Thursday night, Kenny Chesney (to manic cheers) on Friday, and Keith Urban, who nonchalantly walked onstage to play guitar for Brooks & Dunn on their haunting hit, 'Believe.' Urban did not sing with the duo, perhaps preserving his voice for his "I do's" with fiance Nicole Kidman, rumored to be taking place later this month in Australia.
Gretchen Wilson planned to surprise on Sunday night, but thunderstorms caused an early end to the concert.