Dierks Bentley Calls Hosting CMA Fest the ‘Ultimate Gig’

After hosting the CMA Fest TV special last year alongside Elle King, Dierks Bentley is reprising his role again in 2023, joined this year by King and Lainey Wilson. It’s a job Bentley is honored to have, thanks to his passionate support of the four-day event, held in the heart of Nashville.

“Hosting the CMA Fest is the ultimate gig,” Bentley tells his record label. “It’s so fun. I mean, I’ve hosted some big awards shows as well, and those are great too, but this is a four-day festival, so I get to be there for four days. Which, if I was doing it by myself, it would be great because you get a chance to see all your artist buddies you don’t see very often, hear great music, see the all-stars of the country music fans, people that travel from all over the world to be here, and they bring the most energy.

“It’s the greatest fans to play in front of,” he adds. “But, I get to co-host this with two of the funniest people I know – Elle King and Lainey Wilson.”

Bentley is grateful to be joined by King and Wilson, for far more than just their musical gifts.

“[They are] talented beyond all talent, both incredible stylists vocally that sound like nobody else, great songwriters,” Bentley boasts. “You can list all that stuff. Whatever. Who cares? They’re funny. They’re so fun to be around. They make you laugh the whole time, so it doesn’t even feel like work. It just feels like this is ridiculous that I get the chance to hang out with these girls. So, yeah, we’re hosting the CMA Fest. Last year it was Elle and I; this year we’re bringing on Lainey Wilson. It’s gonna be…it’s fun. It’s going to be so much fun. I cannot wait. It’s gonna be the greatest CMA Fest of all time.”

Bentley just kicked off his Gravel & Gold Tour, joined for all dates by Jordan Davis, along with a rotating list of opening acts, including King, including Tracy Lawrence Tyler Braden, Caylee Hammack, Kameron Marlowe, The Cadillac Three, The Red Clay Strays, Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway, Shane Smith & the Saints, Caitlyn Smith and Hailey Whitters. Bentley’s own Hot Country Knights will also open for select shows.

“I’ve been waiting as patiently as possible for the time when we could tell our fans about this tour and I’m happy the moment has arrived,” Bentley said when the tour was announced. “With new music, a whole new set and vibe along with incredible musicians and singers to share the stage with … I can honestly say I think this will be our best tour ever.

“Jordan Davis and I have been talking about touring for a long time and he’s just killing,” he continued. “Not to mention the list of artists that we will be touring with is so exciting for me as a fan of all their music. I will be side stage every night taking it all in alongside the fans on this Gravel & Gold Tour.”

CMA Fest kicks off on Thursday, June 8 in downtown Nashville, and will run through Sunday, June 11. This year’s lineup includes artists like Luke BryanTim McGrawKeith UrbanJason Aldean,, Eric ChurchLuke CombsCarly PearceMiranda LambertCody JohnsonTyler HubbardDan + ShayHARDY, Jordan DavisLittle Big TownAshley McBrydeJon Pardi and more performing at Nissan Stadium each night.

More information on CMA Fest, including a complete schedule and available tickets, can be found at CMAFest.com.

The three-hour primetime CMA Fest special will air on July 19 on ABC.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of CMA/ABC