Total girl confession first off; I totally loved my outfit for Friday and wanted to have a mini photo shoot by the pool where we were staying with Jencita’s family. So we did.
First on our agenda for Friday was a meet and greet with Thomas Rhett at the BMLG Music Has Value pop-up store at the MGM Grand at 1:30pm. One hundred people received wristbands to meet Thomas by purchasing some Music Has Value merchandise from the shop and then there was an “if he has time” line. Since I didn’t have a physical copy of his recent album Tangled Up (I know, shame on me!), I purchased that for him to sign. One thing I learned that day? I probably shouldn’t wear white/ivory. My shirt had a lipstick stain on it within 5 minutes of arriving at MGM. So typical of me!
Party For a Cause festival gates opened at 3pm on Friday, so Jencita and I drove down to the other end of the strip, to the new MGM Grand Festival Grounds, across from the SLS Hotel. Part of my goal during this years ACM week was to keep my radio station and all of it’s listeners, WPOR 101.9, informed with an inside look!
There were some minor complications on Friday getting my wristbands, and I ended up missing a couple hours of the festival. I used the time wisely, charging my phone in Jencita’s car and also trying like hell to find another way in.
Determination and persistence always prevail, and although I missed a few meet and greets and performers, I found my way in before the performers whom I REFUSED to miss went on stage. Everything always works out in the end! Thank you to a friend who busted his butt to get me the hookup! Another thank you to the guy who walked me backstage where I got a glimpse of the Cracker Barrel Content Creator Studio and ACM production offices (you can see backstage stuff on Friday’s snapchat story!)
Kelleigh Bannen had her meet and greet at 4:30pm that afternoon, but I didn’t make it into the festival until about 5pm just as she was finishing up. Luckily, Jencita is friends with her and Kelleigh was sweet enough chat with us and take a few photos with me! Jencita mentioned how I was having a bad day of everything going wrong, and Kelleigh showed genuine concern and asked me to tell her all about it! Not wanting to complain or get into details, I just told her it had been a rough day. But honestly, what artist has EVER asked you to tell them about their day when doing a meet and greet? Such a sweetheart!
From there we got right in line to meet former American Idol contestant Lauren Alaina, who was also very sweet! If you are unfamiliar, Lauren sings Georgia Peaches and her current radio single is Next Boyfriend.
One after another! While I was fortunate enough to meet Brandy Clark the day prior, there was no opportunity for photos. In my early days, I always wanted the autograph… now, I would rather have a photo with an artist if I had to choose between the two! This was my chance!
Now time for some performances! I did not manage to get any good shots of Maddie & Tae, but you can check out Variety Beat for their gallery with photos and videos! Thanks Jencita for some great coverage! Apparently I was too busy snap chatting 10 second clips and being excited about FINALLY seeing them for the first time ever and soaking it all in! I was pretty thrilled to be finally seeing them live! What performers already at such a young age! You really gain a great appreciation and deeper admiration seeing an artist that you already like performing for the first time. It’s kind of a magical thing hearing their songs come to life for the very first time. (Ok, and every time after, which is why I go to show after show after show!)
Meeting Maddie & Tae was a treat! Maddie immediately told me that my outfit was gorgeous, they were both really sweet, smiley, and upbeat. Unfortunately, due to time constraints and wanting to give everyone in line a chance to meet them, no photos were allowed. However, a friend snapped a couple of me meeting them and I am so grateful for this!
UP NEXT: KELSEA BALLERINI!
Kelsea performed at her first ever Party For A Cause Festival on Friday, in her self-titled “Mermaid Suit”, and she was the definition of perfection. This girl is goals. I loved that she had a longer set than she would have if she was opening a tour.
See a clip of her performance of Looking At Stars below:
At the end of her performance, Bob Romeo, CEO of the Academy of Country Music, came out on stage and announced that she had won her first ever ACM Award in the New Female Artist category(see the other nominees here). Kelsea immediately broke down crying as he handed her the award. After some trouble finding a microphone that worked, she gave a genuine and heart felt speech, between sobs and wiping away tears. It’s one of those experiences that you get goosebumps watching it unfold live, so here is as close as you can get to being there! Watch below, she’s truly an amazing person who reminds herself every day, “Remember who you are. Remember where you came from.” Humble, beautiful, kind… Kelsea is the real deal.
In case you missed Friday’s snapchat story:
(Contains backstage stuff, artists performances, festival views, etc!)
If this is your first time here, make sure to check out days one and two of my ACM trip! BIG EXCITING DAY COMING (SATURDAY 4/2/16)!!!!! Wait until you see who I met!
And, if you’re a fan of Kelsea… check out our 6 Reasons Why she could be your new best friend! 😉