CMA Awards to Return to Bridgestone Arena, Allow Vaccinated Guests

The 2021 CMA Awards are returning to Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. The event, which will take place on November 10, will allow a limited number of guests, as long as they can provide proof of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We are so excited to return to Bridgestone Arena for this year’s CMA Awards ceremony,” Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer, says. “We have a truly fantastic show in the works that we will share more about in the coming weeks. As we plan our return, it goes without saying that the health and safety of our guests and crew is our top priority. Due to TV production protocols and venue and local rules, we will require all ticketed audience members to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination and wear masks unless actively eating or drinking.

“Both the house and backstage will comply with all applicable local health and safety regulations, as well as requirements from the television unions,” she adds. “We look forward to bringing our fans a night to remember!”

Last year’s event, held virtually due to the pandemic, was hosted by Reba McEntire and Darius Rucker. Although the hosts have not yet been announced, McEntire won’t helm the show this year, confirming to Billboard that she did not plan to return.

Eric Church and Chris Stapleton lead the list of nominees, with five nominations each, including both of them nominated for Entertainer of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year.  Gabby Barrett is close behind with four nods, including for Female Vocalist of the Year.

One artist who won’t be in attendance is Morgan Wallen. Although nominated for one trophy, for Album of the Year (for Dangerous: The Double Album), the singer has been banned from attending the ceremony, after video surfaced of him uttering a racial slur earlier this year.

“This was something we looked at from so many angles,” Trahern previously told the LA Times. “The decision, ultimately, was the man would not be allowed, but the music and the people who were part of it [songwriters and producers] could be eligible. That made his music eligible in five categories, and ultimately, he was nominated in one.

“This is the first time in the history of the CMA, to my knowledge, anyone has ever been disqualified for conduct,” she continued. “Honoring him as an individual this year is not right, and he will not be allowed on the red carpet, on our stage, or be celebrated in any way.”

The 2021 CMA Awards will air live on November 10 at 8:00 PM ET on ABC. Tickets will be available beginning on November 1, at 10:00 AM via Ticketmaster.

Read 2021 CMA Awards; Surprises and Snubs here.