From left: Musicians Craig Morgan, Blake Shelton and TV personality Lee Lakosky participate in the NRA Country ACM Celebrity Shoot Hosted By Blake Shelton at the Desert Hills Shooting Club in South Boulder City, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for ACM)
LAS VEGAS -- The Academy of Country Music takes on some heavy duty lifting when it comes to putting together their awards show weekend of activities. From the awards show itself - this year was number 47 - to the special tribute taping, " Lionel Richie and Friends in Concert," the Academy has a full plate as it presents activities that span industry and fan events.
While it might seem challenging to hold fan events mixed in with the awards show, the three-day weekend seems to work well for the organization. Throw in a few record company parties and announcements and the weekend is full of activities for industry insiders and fans alike.
From left: John Rich, Blake Shelton, Warner's John Esposito and Big Kenny at the Warner Music Nashville Post Party. Both Big & Rich performed on the Lionel Richie & Friends in Concert TV Special. Shelton won his first ACM Male Vocalist of the Year honor. (Photo: Courtesy of Warner Music Nashville)
One of those hard at work this weekend was Fred Bronson (also a Billboard.biz contributor), who wrote the script for the Lionel Richie tribute. Both the ACM awards and the tribute show are produced by Dick Clark Productions. Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney and Rascal Flatts were on hand for the taping of 'Lionel Richie & Friends: A Lifetime of Hits,' a special slated to air later this year on CBS.
"One thing about this show and all the ones we've done - George Strait, Brooks & Dunn, the Girls' Night Out - one reason the show is so emotional is that we do talk to all of the artists and get their personal stories. By the time they get their dialogue, it's based on their own words, which is probably why they don't change it."
Bronson said one of the most interesting things about doing this tribute show was watching Richie interact with all the other acts on the special. "When you watched him and Kenny Rogers in rehearsals, you felt like you were watching little piece of history," Bronson said.
One of the record company events was held by Big Machine Label Group, who announced that the company and its artists are teaming with General Mills and Feeding America to Outnumber Hunger.  The record company held a press conference on Friday, March 30, to make the announcement that Rascal Flatts, Reba, Martina McBride, The Band Perry, Eli Young Band, Justin Moore, Brantley Gilbert, Sunny Sweeney, Edens Edge, Ella Mae Bowen and Thomas Rhett, along with BMLG President and CEO Scott Borchetta, will participate.
"When you think and you see the facts and the statistics that say one in six Americans are going hungry it's unacceptable," Borchetta says. "The entire label group has banded together to bring awareness to this, and with General Mills there's a way to actually have a return on it."
Rascal Flatts will be the face of the campaign and by working with local radio across the country, they will empower listeners to help make a contribution without having to make a donation. People can purchase any General Mills product that is branded Outnumber Hunger on the back of the boxes. They can then go to outnumberhunger.com website and enter the code on the packages, put in their zip code, and they immediately send five meals to the nearest food bank to their zip code. As a thank you, they also get a free download from Big Machine.
General Mills' Mary Jane Melendez explains that their goal is to help Feeding America to secure 15.6 million meals. Gary LeVox of Rascal Flatts' says the statistics of hunger in this country were staggering to him and immediately got his attention. "When we first heard the astonishing numbers of how many Americans were in need and on the verge of going hungry - you know, 17 million people in our own backyard - we just knew what we wanted to do whatever we could to help put a dent in that number."
From Left: Chris Cox, Executive Director of the NRA - Institute for Legislative Action; Bob Romeo, Academy of Country Music Executive Director; musician Blake Shelton; Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Rifle Association of America and musician Craig Morgan attend the NRA Country ACM Celebrity Shoot Hosted By Blake Shelton at the Desert Hills Shooting Club on Saturday. (Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images for ACM)
While the National Rifle Association and the ACMs might seem unlikely partners, the second annual NRA Country/ACM Celebrity Shoot Hosted by Blake Shelton was held on Saturday. A number of artists, including Craig Morgan, Craig Campbell, Lee Brice and Jake Owen, turned out to participate in the event.
Faith Quesenberry Malloy with Honor Music Entertainment explains why they wanted Morgan to participate. "NRA country gives my artist Craig Morgan a great lifestyle platform that is vey much in line with his core values and beliefs," she says. "It is a win-win and we were happy to participate in the shoot."
The Second Annual NRA Country/ACM Celebrity Shoot will support Wounded Warrior Project, The Folds of Honor Foundation and the Nellis Air Force Base Youth Programs.
Another sports activity is the ACM Lifting Lives® Celebrity Golf Classic hosted by Darius Rucker. This event drew entertainers Charles Kelley, Rascal Flatts, Eric Gunderson (Love and Theft), Jake Owen, Dean Alexander and Stephen Barker Liles of Love and Theft to the greens on Saturday. The golf tournament benefited the Diane Holcomb Emergency Relief Fund.
From left: Capitol Records Nashville SVP Promotion Steve Hodges; Lady Antebellum's Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott and Dave Haywood; Capitol Records Nashville SVP Marketing Cindy Mabe and COO Tom Becci at the Capitol Records Nashville ACM after party. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Capitol Records Nashville)
From left; Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, and Eric Church attend the Capitol Records Nashville ACM after party held at Aureole at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on April 1, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo: Getty Images for Capitol Nashville)
Musician Brad Paisley (let) and CBS Executive Vice President Jack Sussman at the 47th Annual Academy Of Country Music Awards rehearsals at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mark Davis/ACMA2012/Getty Images)
While in Vegas for the ACM Awards, Toby Keith and the Warren Beavers were presented with plaques commemorating the platinum certification for Keith's "Red Solo Cup". The single is approaching the 1.7 million sales mark. From left: Sara Johnson Publisher BMG/Chrysalis; Ben Vaughn Publisher EMI; Brett Warren Writer EMI; Brad Warren Writer EMI; Toby Keith; Brett Beavers, Writer BMG/Chrysalis; Jim Beavers Writer Sony/ATV; Troy Tomlinson, Publisher, Sony/ATV; Mark Wright President Show Dog Universal Music. (Photo: Courtesy Show Dog, Universal Music)
Golfcarts and guns! Neil and Reid Perry of The Band Perry attend the NRA Country ACM Celebrity Shoot Hosted By Blake Shelton at the Desert Hills Shooting Club on March 31, 2012 in South Boulder City, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for ACM)
A good portion of the the Capitol Records Nashville ACM after party: Seated, L-R: Musician Karen Fairchild of Little Big Town, Capitol Records Nashville SVP Marketing Cindy Mabe, musician Kimberly Schlapman of LBT, singer Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum, musician Phillip Sweet of LBT, musician Kelleigh Bannen, Capitol Records Nashville SVP Promotion Steve Hodges (standing back row L-R) Capitol Records Nashville COO Tom Becci, musician Luke Bryan, musician Dave Haywood of Lady Antebellum, musician Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum, former Capitol Records Nashville President & CEO Mike Dungan, musician Jon Pardi, musician Dierks Bentley, musician Eric Paslay, musician Jimi Westbrook of LBT, and musician Darius Rucker attend the Capitol Records Nashville ACM after party held at Aureole at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on Sunday. (Photo: Getty Images for Capitol Nashville)
From Left: Blake Shelton, John Esposito, President & CEO of Warner Music Nashville and Hunter Hayes at the Warner Music Nashville Post Party. Both Hayes and Shelton performed on the ACM Awards. (Photo: Courtesy Warner Music Nashville)