May 10, 2023 - Things to Do

Country music's biggest party comes to Frisco

Dolly Parton, smiling, holding a microphone, wearing a shiny black jacket

Dolly is ready to rock. Photo: Sam Hodde/Getty Images for ABA

The country music industry's biggest party of the year is happening Thursday in North Texas.

Driving the news: Dolly Parton and Garth Brooks will co-host the Academy of Country Music Awards on Thursday night at The Star in Frisco. The event will be streamed for free on Amazon Prime and the Amazon Music channel on Twitch.

  • Performers include Ed Sheeran, Trisha Yearwood, Jason Aldean, Kane Brown, Luke Combs, Miranda Lambert, Jo Dee Messina, Cole Swindell, Keith Urban, in addition to Parton, who will debut the first single from her first-ever rock album as the show's finale.
  • Dak Prescott and Emmitt Smith will be award presenters.

The big picture: While there are a lot of country music award shows, ACM CEO Damon Whiteside says their show has become the industry's "party of the year."

  • "It's a place for artists to just really have a lot of fun and bring really fresh, unique performances to the stage," Whiteside says.
  • Plus: Having Brooks and Parton co-hosting the event is a good way to stand out.
A giant silver cowboy boot in front of the Dallas Cowboys practice facility
The Star has been transformed for the party. Photo: Courtesy of Cormac West

Between the lines: The ACM, which recently unveiled a program aimed at identifying and supporting young Black country music artists, is in talks with the Dallas Cowboys to make Frisco the long-term home for its awards show, Whiteside says.

  • The Star's 12,000-seat indoor stadium and its proximity to hotels and restaurants seem optimal for ACM's festivities.

The intrigue: Bringing one of country music's biggest nights to Texas also highlights the sometimes contentious delineation between Nashville country and Texas country. A lot of great country acts from Texas tend to get ignored by the more corporate national executives.

A mural of Dolly Parton and some roses and some butterflies and a pair of pink boots
Are big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas. Photo: Courtesy of Cormac West

What they're saying: "We're actually celebrating Texas, and we're celebrating some of the great artists from Texas," Whiteside says. "We want it to feel like there's a little bit of Texas flavor."

What we're watching: Whiteside says there will be some "fun surprises" for Texans during the show.

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