The music community came together in Downtown Nashville on August 29 to celebrate pioneers Fred Foster, Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson with the seventh annual Leadership Music Dale Franklin Award. Vince Gill hosted the ceremony for a packed room of music industry executives, creators, friends and family. The Leadership Music Dale Franklin Award was created "to recognize music trailblazers who exemplify the highest quality of leadership and leading by example." PHOTOS: KAY WILLIAMS


Surprise guest Dolly Parton is pictured here, performing “Dumb Blonde” off her 1967 debut album Hello, I’m Dolly, which honoree Foster produced and released on Monument Records. Parton then presented the award to Foster.


“Listening to people say all of these nice things, I almost gave myself a standing ovation,” Willie Nelson joked during his acceptance speech. He is pictured here accepting his award from longtime friend and colleague, Brenda Lee.


Willie Nelson, Shawn Camp and the house band led a rousing finale of “On the Road Again,” during which they were joined by Kris Kristofferson, Lyle Lovett, Randy Travis, Billy Swan, Charlie McCoy, Jamey Johnson and Vince Gill. Pictured here during the performance (from Left) are Billy Swan, Kris Kristofferson, and Lyle Lovett.


Pictured here, after the Grand Finale are (from left) Leadership Music Dale Franklin Award recipient Kris Kristofferson, Mrs. Lisa Kristofferson, Mrs. Carolyn Bryant and BMI President & CEO, Del Bryant.


Event Producers and honorees pose for a photo after the event. Pictured here (from left) are Kyle Young, Director, Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum; Karen Oertley, Executive Director, Leadership Music; honorees Kris Kristofferson, Fred Foster and Willie Nelson; Jamie Cheek, Board President, Leadership Music and Partner, Flood, Bumstead, McCready & McCarthy; and Del Bryant, President & CEO, BMI.

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