The moment he learned that the Academy of Country Music Awards would be coming to Texas, Elias Pardo knew what he must do.
His wife, Christine Pardo, a lifelong country music fan, watched the awards every year from their San Antonio home. This year, he would surprise her with tickets for their fifth wedding anniversary.
“Anything for my wife,” Pardo said after taking a selfie with his wife Saturday afternoon at Party for a Cause at Globe Life Park, the two-day outdoor music festival. “What better way to celebrate our anniversary?”
The Pardos and thousands of other country music fans filled the baseball park’s north lawn Saturday afternoon to enjoy smaller acts like Chase Rice, Dylan Scott and Tyler Farr. On Saturday evening inside the venue, planned headliners included Clint Black, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert and Keith Urban.
Watching Kenny Foster perform on the Ram Lone Star Stage, Cynthia Reynolds, of Omaha, Neb., said she had always wanted to attend the ACM Awards. But flying to Las Vegas, which has hosted the awards for the past several years, was never within reach. So when Reynolds heard the awards would be closer to home, she jumped at the chance to attend.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Reynolds said. “Seeing one of these musicians would be worth the drive. Seeing them all together is incredible.”
For Sara Schaffer, who wore a tan cowboy hat with a fringed miniskirt, the trip to Arlington took a bit longer. Schaffer, who lives in Los Angeles, attends the awards almost every year. This year would be no different.
Fanning herself with a program, Schaffer said she was initially unhappy with the change in venue.
“I was wrong. I’m loving Texas,” she said. “This gives the awards a very authentic feel. There is a different atmosphere here.”
Dana O’Neal of Lewisville, a self-described “born-and-bred country music fan,” who was attending the concert with her daughter, Krysta, said she hopes the awards return to Arlington.
“We will be back. We wouldn’t miss this,” O’Neal said. “We do it better in Texas. That’s all I can say.”
Party for a Cause benefits ACM Lifting Lives, the philanthropic arm of the Academy of County Music, and military philanthropies including Folds of Honor Foundation, Wounded Warrior Project, Navy SEAL Foundation and Task Force Dagger Foundation.
Sarah Bahari, 817-390-7056