“Electric energy” + “the magnitude of the moment”: Watch Jelly Roll & Ashley McBryde host CMA Fest

Disney/Robbie Klein

For Music City native Jelly Roll, hosting ABC’s CMA Fest special was a momentous occasion.

“Stepping onto the stage in front of 50,000 people to host CMA Fest at Nissan Stadium in my hometown of Nashville was indescribable,” he says.

It was also especially poignant, since the venue is located near the Davidson County Juvenile Justice Center, where Jelly Roll once spent some time.

“The magnitude of the moment really hit me,” he reflects, “to be across the street from the juvenile detention center I was in and to now be onstage hosting — how do you describe being in the same exact place while being in a place that couldn’t be more different, at the same time?” 

The irony of the experience, however, didn’t overwhelm the camaraderie with his TV partner, Ashley McBryde.

“When my buddy Jelly Roll and I walked out into this massive crowd and felt the electric energy for the first time, it felt important,” Ashley says. “We were nervous! But it also felt good, because at the root of it all, it’s just me and my pal cutting up, only we’re doing it on national television for CMA Fest.”

You can check out Ashley and Jelly Roll’s moment in the spotlight as the CMA Fest special premieres June 25 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. 

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