CMA Fest


Thomas Rhett performs at Nissan Stadium on Friday, June 10 during CMA Fest 2022 in downtown Nashville. Photo provided by CMA Fest

Last night, America watched as country music’s biggest stars graced the stage of CMA Fest 2022, which aired on ABC. The festival’s live event was filmed in June at Nashville’s Nissan Stadium and featured some of the genre’s biggest artists including Carrie Underwood, Billy Ray Cyrus, Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Wynonna Judd, Darius Rucker, Kelsea Ballerini and more, with Elle King and Dierks Bentley hosting.

PRG provided both audio and lighting support. The uniquely dazzling lighting rig was designed by Mike Swinford and his team including Mark Carver as Lighting Director, Mark Butts and Andre Petrus as Programmers, and Cole Kiracofe as Gaffer. Burton Tenenbein of PRG acted as the Account Executive for the job.

“My goal was to design something completely asymmetrical and out of the ordinary,” said Swinford. “I wanted the stage to take on a different look for all 18 cameras that were shooting it. To achieve interesting angles, rear followspots were asymmetrical as were the few static backlites.”


Deana Carter performs at CMA Fest. Photo provided by CMA Fest.

The lighting rig included 150 of PRG’s retrofit 5L fixtures, and 10 of their proprietary GroundControl® Followspot controllers with Long Throw Followspots.

“The retooled PRG 5L with the LED engine was something I really wanted to try as I have always loved the look and aperture size of the VL5. Its updated color and strobe potential were impressive,” Swinford explained. “We’ve gone with GroundControl FOH Followspots for a few years, but this was my first time with the Long Throw units and they did not disappoint at 300 feet. I don’t know of another remote fixture that can compete with its output.”

The rig included more than 570 lighting fixtures in total, among them GLP JDC-1 Strobes, Vari*Lite VL 2600s, VL3500 Wash Fx and VL6000 Beams. PRG additionally supplied all comms for the event.

“Burton and team delivered a well prepped system as always,” said Swinford. “Due to the odd and asymmetrical aspects of the truss design, it did cause some forward thinking as to how to rig and achieve the concept. They worked through it very well.”


Randall king performs on Saturday, June 11 during CMA Fest. Photo provided by CMA Fest.

Crew List
Designer: Mike Swinford
Lighting Director: Mark Carver
Gaffer: Cole Kiracofe
Programmers: Mark Butts, Andre Petrus
Production Manager: Art Rich
Supervising Producer: Bill Bradshaw

Show Crew
Crew Chief: Rob Simoneaux
FOH Technician: Patrick Sieg
Dimmer Technician: Ryan Le Comte
Ground Control Technician: Jennifer Kerbs
Lighting Technician: Serafin Gonzalez
Lighting Technician: Zach Hair

Account Executive: Burton Tenenbein
PRG Project Managers: Jim Rink

Additional Load Out Crew
Benjamin Sammons
Colin Bishop

Gear List
Lighting Fixtures
143 PRG 5L LED Wash
63 Vari*Lite VL2600 Profile
86 Vari*Lite VL3500 Wash FX
8 Vari*Lite VL6000 Beam
12 SGM G-7 BeaSt
179 GLP JDC1 Strobe
13 Elation Cuepix WW4 LED Blinder
12 Robert Juliat Dalis 860
26 Color Kinetics iW Blast TR
12 Chroma Q Color Force II 12
25 Martin VDO Sceptron 10 - 1000mm

4 PRG Long Throw GCFS w/Camera
2 Lycian 1295 Long Throw Followspot
6 Robe BMFL Followspot
10 PRG Ground Control Followspot Controller

4 Grand MA3 Full

6 MDG theONE

30 Tyler GT Truss 10'
32 Tyler GT Truss 8'
4 Tyler GT Truss 5’
19 Tyler GT Corner