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The CMA Music Festival kicked off with a star-studded show at Nashville’s LP Field Thursday night. Here’s a roundup of what some of the night’s top stars had to say about their experiences at the big event:

Miranda Lambert was feeling a little under the weather at her fan club party Thursday, but she rallied for the big night time concert at LP Field. She even brought on her all-girl group Pistol Annies for a few songs.

Miranda loves the CMA Music Festival because it gives her a chance to give back to the fans that have made her entire career possible.

“I’ve gotten to know a lot of them, you know, ’cause I see ’em all the time,” Miranda says of her fans. Having their support means the world to her. Miranda adds, “It’s like you have a force behind you when you have such hardcore fans, you feel like they’ve got your back.”

Jason Aldean is no stranger to playing for sold-out crowds, but he always looks forward to playing at the CMA Music Festival every year. He thinks there’s something special about this particular crowd that has traveled from around the world to see their favorite stars.

Jason says, “People wait all year for this thing. This is their vacation. This is what they save up all year for. It’s up to us to go out and be accessible and go out and show ’em a good time. ”

Jason also gets a thrill out playing the main stage at Nashville’s LP Field during CMA Music Festival.

“I still remember playing out in the parking lot,” Jason recalls. “So, it’s pretty cool that I get to play the big show.”

Lady Antebellum has taken part in the CMA Music Festival ever since their 2007 debut, so they’ve learned a few pointers to share with festival attendees. Lady A’s Hillary Scott encourages fans to pace themselves over the four day event.

She says, “I know it’s hard to pick and choose because there’s so many different activities and places you can go and people you can see, but I’m telling you, you can wear yourself out.”

Her band mate Charles Kelley also encourages festival-goers to check out the new acts playing at different stages during the day. Most of the new acts are signing autographs all weekend too.

“You never know who’s going to be the next big thing,” Charles says, “and now’s the time during this when you’ve got a lot of these new artists that you could really get some really cool access to them.”


— Everyone knows the fans at CMA Music Festival are really hardcore, and Brad Paisley can tell you how far they’ll go to prove their devotion to an artist. He actually had a woman tattoo his face onto her ankle.

“The woman that did that is very sane from what I can tell,” Brad says. “Truthfully, she is the nicest person you’d ever want to meet, but she walks around with my face staring off her ankle.”

The tattoo looked great though. Brad says, “Luckily, the artist was really good. It looked just like an 8 by 10 of me.”

Brad was also presented with the CMA’s International Artist Achievement Award Thursday night for his work in taking country music around the globe.

Zac Brown Band, David Nail, Kellie Pickler and Lauren Alaina also performed Thursday night. The CMA Music Festival continues through Sunday with performances from Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood, Eric Church, Alan Jackson, Blake Shelton, The Band Perry, Luke Bryan, Little Big Town and many more.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


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