Dierks Bentley at Miles & Music for Kids 2015: 'Everyone Had a Great Time'

Sunday afternoon might not have been weather sponsored by the Nashville Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, but CMA nominee Dierks Bentley had no complaints as his 10th annual Miles & Music for Kids celebrity motorcycle ride and concert went off without a hitch at the city’s Ascend Amphitheater.

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“Three days ago, they were talking about an eighty percent chance of rain, but it was perfect weather for the show,” Bentley said. “Everyone had a great time.”

The event, which started with a motorcycle ride at the Harley Davidson store in Columbia -- forty miles south of Music City -- had been sold out for weeks. The annual show benefits Children’s Miracle Network hospitals across the country, of which Nashville’s Vanderbilt is a member, and attracted some of the biggest stars in the format.

One of the newest performers on the lineup was Warner Bros. Records’ Cole Swindell, who said that he felt that once Bentley invited him to participate, it was his responsibility to be there.

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“I think that’s part of being successful,” he said. “Being a new artist, that’s something I want to get fully involved in. If it weren’t for a lot of people helping us, we wouldn’t be here. If we can do something for people, or just say hello and do something at these events to help them, I don’t see why you wouldn’t. We’ve been given that platform, and we’ve got to do something good with it. Thank God for guys like Dierks Bentley that guys like me can learn from.”

Swindell arrived in town for the concert, but rising star Canaan Smith participated in both events. The Mercury Records recording artist -- who topped the Billboard Country Airplay charts in July with “Love You Like That” -- said he had a blast driving up Interstate 65.

“This is an awesome event. We got here safely, which is a good thing. This is my first group ride. The cops roped off the course for us, and we didn’t have to stop once. It was an enjoyable ride -- not too stressful,” said Smith, who is also a part of Bentley’s successful Riser tour. He said that the singer surprised him with a special thank-you gift recently.

“He gave me and my wife a getaway weekend at a place about a couple of hours from here called Blackberry Farm in the Smoky Mountains, It was a place that we couldn’t afford yet on our own. That was so nice of him to do that. He bought us time. It’s like a MasterCard commercial,” he quipped.

Miles & Music for Kids is the unofficial kick-off to the biggest week of the year in Nashville: CMA week. One artist on the Ascend lineup definitely has the awards show circled on his calendar. Not only is Thomas Rhett nominated for new artist of the year, but he will perform on the show along with Fall Out Boy, which he said holds a very special significance: “I’ve never met them, but I used to cover their songs in high school on the drums. I look forward to getting up there with them.” Rhett also talked about his live cover of Silento’s “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae),” with Brett Eldredge -- which hit the Internet this week.

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“I don’t know if I taught him anything. He just kind of followed," Rhett said. "We were in rehearsals, and talking about what we were going to do for the encore. I’ve noticed that we always talk a lot about relationships. He’s not even dating anybody, but we always talk about that. So, we decided to make our encore this banter bit where Brett asks me for advice, and we sing songs about him being single. It’s pretty hilarious.”

Bentley admitted that the cold and damp weather made for an interesting ride, but had no complaints. “Jeans with holes are not probably a good idea,” he joked of his fashion choice. “It gets a little cold down to the bone… It was beautiful to be in the shade and see the Tennessee countryside. We worried all week long about the rain, but it was perfect.”

Bentley, nominated for male vocalist of the year at Wednesday’s awards, said that he was humbled and honored with his association with Children’s Miracle Network hospitals across the country, as he spoke of a video that featured the story of one of the patients that he knows well -- along with his current inspirational hit. “We’ve got some special relationships with many of these children at Vanderbilt. I’ve known him since the very beginning. He wouldn’t be here without the doctors, staff, and research. We made a video set to the song "Riser," explaining what all he’s going through, and what being a Riser is all about. It also sums up what the whole day is about.”

Not including this year, the event has helped to raise for than $3 million dollars for Children’s Miracle Network hospitals across the country.