NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A two-hour special featuring highlights from this year's Country Music Association festival will air on prime-time TV, with performances by Alan Jackson, Rascal Flatts, Dolly Parton, Keith Urban, Trisha Yearwood and others.
"CMA Music Festival: Country Music's Biggest Party" will air tonight on ABC. The show was taped earlier this summer during the four-day annual festival in Nashville.
"The special includes riveting performances in front of thousands of fans -- which is where these artists excel," CMA Executive Director Ed Benson said.
"The unique relationship between country music artists and their fans is the cornerstone of this event."
The festival, which was formerly known as Fan Fair, began in 1972 and gives fans a chance to meet many of their favorite celebrities and recording artists as well as see them perform.
The TV special captures some of the interaction. In one segment, Jackson meets a group of New York City firefighters who played his poignant hit about the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, "Where Were You [When the World Stopped Turning]," in the firehouse for months.
"To watch the fans and the artists come together and connect on a personal level is an experience like no other, and we are thrilled to bring this special to ABC for the first time," ABC executive Andrea Wong said.
Other artists to appear on the show include Dierks Bentley, Cowboy Troy, Sara Evans, Jo Dee Messina, Miranda Lambert, the Grascals, Sugarland, Phil Vassar, Lee Ann Womack and Wynonna.
The special also will premiere Gretchen Wilson's video for her new single "All Jacked Up."