Will CMA Fest Follow 'Genre Blending' Of Country Music Award Shows? | Nashville Public Radio

Will CMA Fest Follow 'Genre Blending' Of Country Music Award Shows?

Jun 9, 2017

One of the biggest pop acts in the world joined a country duo for a performance on Lower Broadway during this week’s CMT Awards. The result didn’t sound much like what usually comes out of Nashville’s honky tonks.

It was pop group The Chainsmokers performing with country duo Florida Georgia Line, described by CMT as one of several "genre blending mash-ups."

The next day two young fans on Lower Broadway familiar with the group said they could see the the Chainsmokers performing their own set in the future at CMA Fest.

"I think that would be, like, cool," one said. "But I want it to be mainly country, you know what I mean? Mostly country. Majority country," the other said.

The annual country music event has added a few acts slightly outside the genre in the past but have never a hosted a set by a current, mainstream top 40 artist.

Country awards shows have been featuring more and more crossover performances with some being more well received than others — Justin Timberlake’s incredibly popular duet with Chris Stapleton versus Beyonce’s heavily debated appearance with the Dixie Chicks.

Stan Munsey, a musician from Muscle Shoals who performs with classic country band Shenandoah, says he would welcome diversity into the CMA lineup.

“I think anything that’s good, no matter what genre, just adds to the whole flavor,” he says.

The music festival industry seems eager for such opportunities on both sides, with some commercial country artists like Cam and Luke Combs showing up onstage at Bonnaroo this year.