Las Vegas goes country for ACM Awards

Country music fans will be in heaven this week in Las Vegas. The 47thAnnual Academy of Country Music Awards will be broadcast live from the MGM Grand on Sunday, April 1 at 8 p.m. The show, hosted by Blake Shelton and Reba McEntire, will feature performances by the hottest country acts.

Reba McEntire

In conjunction with the awards, the Academy of Country Music is hosting a series of special events and concerts throughout the weekend in Las Vegas.

One of the big highlights for fans is two days of free, all-star concerts at the Fremont Street Experience.

The party will be hosted by three-time ACM On-Air Personality of the Year Award winner Blair Garner and will feature performances by ACM New Artist of the Year nominees Brantley Gilbert, Hunter Hayes and Scotty McCreery, as well as Love and Theft and headliner Luke Bryan on Friday, March 30.

Laura Bell Bundy, Craig Campbell, Eli Young Band, Jana Kramer, and headliner Eric Church perform on Saturday, March 31st.

A new event for fans, the ACM Experience will be held at Mandalay Bay March 30- April 1.

This free three-day event will give fans the ultimate country experience with more than 250 unique vendors from across the nation as well as the RAM Ride and Drive outdoor test track, which features a 13-foot mobile hill and steel suspension ramps.

Fans can also enjoy country tastes at the ACM BBQ Throwdown, featuring the best grillers in the nation going head to head for the top prize. In addition to the actual competition, there will be world champion vendors selling their barbecue, interactive booths, cooking demonstrations and more.

The event runs March 30 from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; March 31 from 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. and April 1 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Gilbert, Hayes and McCreery will also perform at the 2nd Annual ACM Fan Jam and Post-Award Concert, hosted and headlined by Zac Brown Band, at the Mandalay Bay Events Center April 1.

Also taking to the ACM Fan Jam stage is DeeJay Silver, who will produce signature country music remixes and mash-ups for fans in between performances.

ACM Fan Jam is the fans-only live concert event taking place in Las Vegas during and after the ACM Awards broadcast.

Throughout the three-hour awards telecast from the MGM Grand Garden Arena, there will be live ACM Fan Jam performances, via remote, from the Mandalay Bay Events Center.

The ACM week will wrap up on April 2 with a special concert at the MGM Grand, ACM Presents: Lionel Richie and Friends.

The concert includes country music collaborations with Richie, featuring duets from his upcoming album “Tuskegee,” along with solo performances.

Some of Richie’s greatest hits will be performed by today’s hottest country artists including Jason Aldean (“Say You Say Me”), The Band Perry (“Penny Lover”), Luke Bryan (“Running with the Night”), Sara Evans, Lady Antebellum (“Truly”), Martina McBride (“Still”), Jennifer Nettles (“Hello”) and Rascal Flatts (“Dancing on the Ceiling”).

Duets with Richie include “My Love” with Kenny Chesney, “Sail On” with  Tim McGraw and “Lady” with Kenny Rogers.

The special will be taped and will air Friday, April 13 on CBS.


It’s not that warm in Minnesota. I know this from spending half my life freezing in the northern part of the state. So 20 years ago, I decided to thaw out and traded in scarves and mittens for tank tops and flip-flops (Take that, polar vortex!). I swapped snow for 300 days of sun a year. I may not have been born here, but there are hotels that haven’t lasted in Vegas as long as I have. The Sands, Hacienda, Aladdin, Desert Inn and the Stardust too. I've been to my fair share of implosion parties. (Yeah, that’s a thing.) As a writer for, I've applauded hundreds of shows, explored every major hotel in town and raised a few glasses at most of the city's bars and clubs. Now I'm the resident foodie here. I write about all things dining — from $3.99 shrimp cocktail at the Golden Gate to the finest sushi at Nobu, and everything in between.