Air Date: Monday, July 23, 2007
Time Slot: 9:00 PM-11:00 PM EST on ABC
[NOTE: The following article is a press release issued by the aforementioned network and/or company. Any errors, typos, etc. are attributed to the original author. The release is reproduced solely for the dissemination of the enclosed information.]


Big & Rich, Brooks & Dunn, Kelly Clarkson, Sara Evans, Reba McEntire, Martina McBride, Brad Paisley, Kellie Pickler, Rascal Flatts, Sugarland, Carrie Underwood and Many More Perform

"Dancing with the Stars'" Cheryl Burke Guest Stars

ABC's hottest music event is back -- and bigger and better than ever -- when today's most exciting Country Music sensations hit the Nashville stage in a four-day party and music celebration for the special, "CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock." The two-hour telecast will air in HD with 5.1-channel surround sound MON., JULY 23 (9:00-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.

Scheduled to perform on the special are Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, Big & Rich, Brooks & Dunn, Sara Evans, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Martina McBride, Brad Paisley, Kellie Pickler, Rascal Flatts, LeAnn Rimes, Sugarland, Taylor Swift, Josh Turner, Carrie Underwood and Reba McEntire -- who sings a duet with surprise guest Kelly Clarkson. Filmed June 7-10, this is the third time ABC will broadcast this special -- which invites the whole country to America's biggest Country Music bash -- since the original Fan Fair� was launched in 1972. This year 191,000 fans attended CMA Music Festival, its biggest turnout yet.

The special is as much about the fans as it is the artists. In addition to never-before-televised music performances, viewers will also experience the Festival's unique bond between the Country Music artists and their fans. Taped exclusively for the special, the cameras follow the stories of several passionate Country Music fans who will have their dreams come true when they're granted a surprise meeting and personal encounter with their favorite Country Music stars at the fest.

In one segment, Martina McBride, who grew up in a small town in Kansas, presents a new pickup truck to a young couple who lost everything in a recent tornado that leveled the small Kansas town of Greensburg. Volunteer fireman Chance Little (27) and his pregnant wife, Tracy (22), thought they were attending the Festival as a much needed break from the devastation at home, but McBride called them on stage following her powerful performance of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and presented the truck to help the couple get on their feet and on with their lives � to the cheers of 50,000 fans.

Big & Rich, Kenny Alphin and John Rich are fan favorites for a reason: They love discovering and nurturing fresh talent, and they were doing it on a BIG scale at the Festival. During the Festival, Big & Rich met another pair of extremely talented musicians, Ruby Jane Smith (13) of Columbus, MS, and Chelsea Dock (11) of Brooklyn, NY. The aspiring players thought it was a private meet-and-greet with the duo, but it morphed into a jam session at sound check that culminated with the pair being asked to sit in on Big & Rich's stadium performance at LP Field, where they rocked the house with the duo's new single, "Radio."

Former "American Idol" contestant turned Country music's newest superstar Kellie Pickler knows what it's like to have a dream come true, and she shared that experience with two diehard Country Music fans. Pickler paid a surprise visit to the Nashville home of Kellie McFarland (19), a diehard Country Music fan who has dreams of one day running her own record label. Pickler took the aspiring singer on a tour of her record label. The uber-fan got the star treatment and experienced what it's like to live like a Country Music star, as she and two friends, Tyler Rider (20) and Melissa Montgomery (21), hung out with Pickler and were granted an all-access pass to the event.

Nashville had never seen this much excitement when citizens learned that Brooks & Dunn were performing an impromptu concert in a local honky-tonk club! The story began with a radio DJ announcing the big news event, and the rest became history. Pandemonium quickly filled the air as chaos clogged the streets with the rush of fans trying to get a glimpse of the duo. Overwhelmed and moved by their loyal fan base, Ronnie Dunn and Kix Brooks returned the devotion, posing for photos and signing autographs. It was truly a night that this town won't soon forget.

Karmela Kondra (21), Andy Dufort (23) and Stacy Zurburg (27) from Calgary and Mike Boyenko (27) from Saskatoon, Saskatechewan are a group of Canadian college friends who saddled up for a trip of a lifetime as they flew to Music City, USA for four days of music and fun. But they were in for a big surprise when Country superstar Dierks Bentley greeted them outside their hotel by his car and brought them along for the ride. The group spent a day in the life of Dierks Bentley, as he led them on a tour of Nashville that included the Fan Fair Exhibit Hall and the Country Music Hall of Fame, where they met Hall of Fame legend George Jones.

For one group of fans, it was their "Lucky Day" when Cheryl Burke, the only two-time winner of "Dancing with the Stars," came to the CMA Music Festival and granted them a once in a lifetime opportunity. Follow Cheryl as she whisks these surprised fans out of the audience and takes them in and around the backstage tunnels, hallways and dressing rooms to meet their favorite Country star. Cheryl grabbed Alexa (13) and Hannah Borroel (17) of Santa Y�ez, CA, along with Melissa Greenfield (17) of Nashville, TN, to meet their idols, Sugarland, before the duo went on stage to perform. Anna Menghart (23) and Crystal Cobb (22) of Little Rock, AR, had a backstage meeting with Country music heartthrobs Rascal Flatts. And singer LeAnn Rimes was delighted to meet three of her biggest fans, Tyler Anderson (19) of Lafayette, LA, Claire Gremillion (18) of Youngsville, LA, and Jewel Hicks (17) of Welsh, LA, when Cheryl brought them by her tour bus.

The annual music festival is unlike any other, with 30 hours of autograph signings by Country Music's biggest names and up and comers, 100 hours of concerts, more than 400 artists and celebrities, and a party list of thousands of avid, singing and dancing-till-dawn fans from every state and 21 foreign countries.

"CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock" is executive-produced by Robert Deaton and directed by Gary Halvorson. The 2007 CMA Music Festival is organized and produced by the Country Music Association. "CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock" is shot in high definition and broadcast in 720 Progressive (720P), ABC's selected HDTV format, with 5.1 channel surround sound.

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