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John Rich remembers attending CMA Fest at 16 to watch the Judds: 'It was the biggest thrill'

John Rich still remembers the first time he attended CMA Fest, a festival dedicated to country music fans, as a teenager.

Rich, who was 16 at the time, saved up his money to see the Judds play live. 

“The first time I ever came I was about 16 or 17, saved up my money. I bought a ticket to Fan Fare [now named CMA Fest] to come see the Judds: Wynonna and Naomi,” Rich told Fox News Digital in June when the 2023 CMA Fest was playing.

He continued, “It was the biggest thrill I’ve ever had at that point in my life because I got that close to some of my heroes in country music.”

“When I think back to how this whole thing got started, it was way before I got to town and before any of us got to town,” Aldean said in June. “To be one of the artists that gets to carry that on, to me is really cool.”

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He continued, “It’s only gotten bigger and better every single year. It’s always good to be a part of that and be a part of country music history.”

Adam Doelac says CMA Fest has the 'best fans in country music' Video

“It has the best fans in country music all in the same place,” he continued. “We get to play shows for people who have been wanting us to play for a long time. It’s a great week.”

Adam Doleac

Adam Doleac said the best country music fans attend CMA Fest. (Getty Images / File)

Luke Bryan, Tim McGraw and Dierks Bentley headlined the popular weekend event hosted by the Country Music Association last month. 

Bentley spoke about hosting the 2023 CMA Fest with Lainey Wilson and Elle King: “I feel really lucky to be hosting with both of them.”

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The 2023 CMA Fest special is scheduled to air July 19 on ABC at 8 p.m. ET and on Hulu the following day.

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