The Country Music Association held a celebratory dinner for this year’s CMA Awards nominees at Nashville’s Saint Elle event space on Wednesday night (Nov. 1), just a week ahead of the 57th annual ceremony.
The venue was decorated with warm tones and touches of gold as well as florals from the Nashville-based FLWR Shop. The menu was curated by renowned chef and James Beard Award-winning restaurateur Sean Brock, whose mission is to contribute to the local community, culture and cuisine in a lasting and impactful way.
“It’s a really wonderful privilege to be in the same city as all of you and to be in the same room as all of you,” said Brock. “It’s very inspiring to the food community as well.”
CMA CEO Sarah Trahern welcomed everyone and invited CMA Executive Producer Robert Deaton to lead a special toast for the group. To start the celebration, CMA Award-winning artist Darius Rucker surprised recently retired Universal Music Group (UMG) Nashville Chairman & CEO Mike Dungan with the Irving Waugh Award of Excellence. This award is given to an individual who is the originator and caretaker of demonstrated ideas and actions that have dramatically broadened and improved country music’s influence on a national or international level for the benefit of the industry as a whole.
“This is way beyond anything I could ever dream of,” shared Dungan following a heartfelt speech from Rucker. “I’ve been getting a lot of expressions of love lately, but this is really something.”
The 57th Annual CMA Awards, hosted by Luke Bryan and Peyton Manning, will air live from Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. CT on ABC.
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