Kimberly Schlapman Kimberly Schlapman

Who's up for some "Day Drinking"? Not only is Little Big Town hosting CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock for the second year in a row, but the white-hot group will also perform its current chart-topping salute to afternoon boozing. The rowdy three-hour special, filmed in Nashville over four days in June, also boasts Brad Paisley, Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, the Band Perry, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum and more top acts. LBT's Kimberly Schlapman gave us a down-home preview.

TV Guide Magazine: All these stars showing up and not an award in sight — how is that possible?
Kimberly Schlapman:
Because this is all about the fans. Country artists never forget where we came from and who got us here. People will sacrifice and save up all year so they can come say hi, and some families have been doing it for generations. They take photos with us, we hear their stories, meet their new children and grandchildren. It's heaven.

TV Guide Magazine: Wasn't Little Big Town practically born at this festival?
We started there in 1999 only a month after we got our first record deal. We only knew three songs! But we went on right before Wynonna and thought, "Boy, we have made it! We are about to explode!" [Laughs] Well, it took quite a few more years for that "explosion" to happen.

TV Guide Magazine: What's the absolute coolest part of hosting?
Schlapman: Being starstruck! This time, [LBT's] Karen Fairchild and I got to interview Tim McGraw, only we turned into goofy, giddy schoolgirls and lost the ability to talk in complete sentences. I walked away feeling so stupid and thinking, "We're gonna need the best editors on Earth to make that mess make sense!"

CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock airs Tuesday at 8/7c on ABC.

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