The 2012 CMA Music Festival is officially underway in Nashville with the big nightly concerts kicking off Thursday night at LP Field.
-- Lady Antebellum is on the bill for Thursday's show, and it's a gig they look forward to all year long. Lady A's Hillary Scotts says, "It's so much fun to be there, and to have a stadium full of the most die-hard country fans you could ever imagine from all over the world."
-- Eric Church is proud that country music welcomes fans to Nashville for a week full of music and up close encounters with their favorite stars. A big part of that bond comes from the level playing field between country stars and their fans.
"We're not different than them," Eric says of the fans. "We're not a lot of the rock stars and a lot of the other guys where they're their own person, they're their own agenda -- they're not like the people that are listening to them. It's different in country."
-- Dierks Bentley has some of the most supportive fans in the country format. Unfortunately, he had to postpone his annual Last Call Ball party for his fan club members due to the death of his father last week. Dierks will still perform at the Sunday night concert at LP Field though.
Speaking of those hardcore fans that make his career possible, Dierks tells ABC News Radio, "They got big hearts and country music is not just something -- a hobby. It's their lives. It's what they do and breathe. I'm just honored to be someone they give that attention to. "
-- Rascal Flatts is celebrating 12 years in the country music industry at this year's CMA Music Festival, and they're performing on Sunday night at the final concert at LP Field. You won't catch them closing the show though.
"If you go on last on a Sunday, everybody's beat. So, we're gonna go on at about 7 o'clock, and I think it's perfect," band member Jay DeMarcus tells ABC News Radio. "I don't want to be the last one anymore and just have people staring at you like, 'Oh God, this has been the longest week of my life!'"
-- Alan Jackson has been playing CMA Music Festival for more than 20 years now, and he's glad to be back for a performance this Sunday night. Since fans come to this event from all over the world, Alan says, "It gives you a chance to play for some people [that] you'd probably never get to their town in a live concert."
Alan's seen some of his fellow country superstars stop appearing at CMA Music Festival once they got to a certain level of fame, but Alan doesn't agree with that approach. He says, "I just kept playing it 'cause I just felt like it was a big part of the Nashville music thing and the fans loved it. I'm glad they still let me come out there and sing."
Jason Aldean , Blake Shelton , Luke Bryan , Miranda Lambert , Brad Paisley , Carrie Underwood , Zac Brown Band , Jake Owen , Hunter Hayes and Little Big Town are among the other stars performing at CMA Music Festival this weekend.
If you can't make it to this year's CMA Music Festival, you will have a chance to see highlights on ABC's CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock special. That's set to air Monday, September 17.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio