Luke Bryan may be a CMA Fest main stage headliner now, but he remembers his first time playing the festival as an anxious newcomer.

“I think at [that] time there would be downtime in between the headliners’ performances. So in the interim, they would have new artists come out and just play one song acoustic, and I think that was the first thing I did,” Luke recalls in a press interview.

“I played a song acoustic. I mean, I remember just being as nervous as you could be about any kind of performance,” he shares.

The nerves, however, are now unfounded. 

“The thing about it is a lot of times, artists in that scenario, their first stadium a lot of the times is CMA Fest and it’s always packed to the rim,” Luke explains. “So you’re already really, really nervous about the enormity of it.”

It’s no secret that country music’s popularity has grown not just in the U.S., but globally. That’s why Luke, who’s been playing CMA Fest for years, continues to show up onstage when given the opportunity.

“I remember the days where the CMA thought the stadium was going to be too big and it wasn’t going to work, and now they’ve essentially almost outgrown the stadium because it’s grown to be that big and so important to Nashville and the world of country music,” shares the “Love You, Miss You, Mean It” singer.

“It’s been a minute since I’ve missed a year,” he adds. “It’s something that historically I’ve always done.”

If you’re going to be in Nashville for CMA Fest, you can catch Luke performing at Nissan Stadium on Friday.

Luke’s new track, “Mind of a Country Boy,” arrives June 14 and can be presaved now. While you wait, check out a preview on Instagram.

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