CMA Music Fest unofficially kicks off with a show hosted by Darius that raises funds for St. Jude Children’s Hospital. It’s literally Darius and his friends putting on a show. This year, he invited out John Oates (of Hall & Oates), Dan+Shay, Michael Ray and Luke Combs. But there’s always a surprise guest. When I went to talk with Darius, I learned that it’s not just a surprise for the fans.
So, I kept my mouth shut, asked him about his mom (who was a nurse), what it means to him to play the Mother Church of Country Music and how he met John Oates.
Then, when Brooks & Dunn took the stage — surprising everyone in the audience — they also got the headliner.