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Kelsea Ballerini Is Bringing A Little “Female Rage” To CMA Fest

She’s ready for “healing, feelings, and all the things” at her headlining set.

In Elite Daily’s series At The Moment, celebs dish on their current projects, pop culture hot takes, and everything taking over their group chats. Below, singer Kelsea Ballerini talks about headlining CMA Fest, her latest collab with Donut Shop, and her favorite festival memories.

Kelsea Ballerini is ready to get back on stage. Making music and sharing it are two of the 30-year-old’s biggest passions, but she’s eager to do more of the latter. “I've really been filling the ‘making it’ cup, but I haven't been filling the ‘sharing it’ cup,” she tells Elite Daily.

Luckily, the country singer is set to headline CMA Fest 2024 in Nashville on June 7, and she couldn’t be more excited. “I was on tour with Kenny Chesney last year, so I haven't gotten to play any of Rolling Up The Welcome Mat at CMA Fest,” she says. “I feel as if it is my job to bring a little female rage to the stage and healing, feelings, and all the things.”

Before she performs, though, Ballerini has to have her go-to pick-me-up: a vanilla latte. “I am not a real person until it happens,” she says about drinking a cup first thing in the morning. The self-proclaimed “coffee girl” has created her own vanilla flavor with the Original Donut Shop, aptly named the Ballerini Blend. Fans can pick up the limited-edition K-Cups online the same day Ballerini takes the stage.

The Original Donut Shop Coffee

The newly minted The Voice coach is also hosting an exclusive brunch with the brand in Nashville on Friday for select fans. “We'll have coffee, and I'm going to spill some tea as I always do, play some music, and finally get to say hey to some fans I haven't gotten to see in a while,” she says. Getting to spend time with her followers is what makes CMA Fest so wonderful, according to Ballerini. “It's very fan-centric,” she says — and she would know.

Ballerini has been attending CMA Fest since she was a fan herself. “My mom would bring me, and I would wait in line to meet my favorite artists and do the whole thing,” she says. For anyone who hasn’t been before, CMA Fest is when “all of Nashville is just turned up to 10” with music and “cowboy boots everywhere.” And while she may be a headliner now, Ballerini admits when she gets off stage, she likes to “immediately take the artist hat off and put the fan hat back on” to watch other sets.

Amy Price/imageSPACE/Shutterstock

The Grammy nominee hasn’t forgotten her roots. Below, she shares her festival season must-haves, the “fun new friendship” she’s started with Noah Kahan, and what she thinks is the song of the summer.

ED: What are you most looking forward to about CMA Fest?

KB: I'm a little bit giddy about hearing the "yeah, sure, okay" [from “Blindsided (Yeah, Sure, Okay)”] in the stadium.

ED: What are your festival season must-haves?

KB: A good cup of coffee, good pair of boots, and good sunscreen.

ED: Do you have a specific brand of SPF you like?

KB: Supergoop!

ED: Your favorite festival you've ever performed at?

KB: Stagecoach. It's really iconic, and it was on my dream list to play it. My first time playing Stagecoach, I got to play with Shania Twain — it doesn't get much better than that.


ED: Your favorite festival to attend?

KB: Probably CMA Fest. Two years ago, I played the stadium, then my mom and I went as fans the next night. I really try to do both.

ED: If you were putting together your own festival, who would be your dream headliners?

KB: My dream lineup right now would be Tigirlily Gold, Carter Faith, Orville Peck, Jelly Roll, and Shania Twain.

ED: An artist you haven't seen live that you want to?

KB: I really want to see Elton John.

ED: Best festival season tip you've got for attendees?

KB: Wear comfortable shoes.

Dylan Johnson/Shutterstock

ED: Your dream surprise guest to perform with?

KB: I just got to perform with Noah Kahan. We performed at the ACM Awards, and then I got to be a special guest at his show here in Nashville. That was really fun. I'm such a fan, and there's a really beautiful artistic synergy that we have. So yeah, that's been a fun new friendship.

ED: Any other live performances coming up that you're excited about this year?

KB: There's one in particular that is not announced yet, that is a bucket list for me.

ED: Can’t wait to see that. In the meantime, what’s your pick for 2024’s song of the summer?

KB: “Isn't that sweet? I guess so...” [singing “Espresso” by Sabrina Carpenter].

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.