The evening is dedicated to recognizing the special honorees and off-camera category winners from the 55th and 56th ACM Awards. Studio recording awards and industry award winners from the 55th ACM Awards weren’t properly recognized last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
ACM special awards are voted on by the ACM board of directors. The show is executive produced by Damon Whiteside, CEO of the ACM, and written and produced by Lisa Lee.
Three of the awards will be presented posthumously: the ACM poet's award to songwriter Curly Putman, guitar player of the year to J.T. Corenflos and the 2019 producer of the year award to busbee.
ACM professional members can purchase tickets in a special pre-sale by visiting ticketmaster.com. The pre-sale code will be emailed to all professional members prior to the on-sale date. (Sign-up here for ACM emails.)
Tickets will go on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. CT Friday at Ticketmaster. Prices range from $85 to $142.
A limited number (80) of VIP package tickets will be available starting Friday at 10 a.m. CT. VIP seating includes parking, VIP artist pit seating location, VIP pre-party reception with complimentary beverages and light hors d'oeuvres and an official commemorative ACM Honors Hatch Print. Tickets for VIP are priced at $1,000 at Ticketmaster.
ACM Party for a Cause (benefiting ACM Lifting Lives) will return in August, marking the first time ACM Party for a Cause will be in Nashville.
Here’s a complete list of special award honorees:
ACM Cliffie Stone icon award: veteran label executive Joe Galante and Rascal Flatts. This award is presented to a country music artist, duo/group or industry leader who has advanced the popularity of the genre through their contributions in multiple facets of the industry such as songwriting, recording, production, touring, film, television, literary works, philanthropic contributions and other goodwill efforts.
ACM Gary Haber lifting lives award: Lady A and songwriter/producer Ross Copperman. This award is presented to a country music artist, duo/group or industry professional who is devoted to improving lives through the power of music, has a generosity of spirit, and is committed to serving others. Voted on by the ACM Lifting Lives board of directors.
ACM Gene Weed milestone award: Luke Combs. This award is presented to a country music artist, duo/group or industry leader for a specific, unprecedented or outstanding achievement in the field of country music during the preceding calendar year.
ACM Jim Reeves international award: Dan + Shay. This award is presented to an artist or industry leader for outstanding contributions to the acceptance of country music throughout the world.
ACM Mae Boren Axton service award: RAC Clark. This award is presented to an outstanding country music artist, duo/group or industry leader in recognition of years of dedication and service to the Academy of Country Music. Clark, president of Lion’s Heart Entertainment, has produced the ACM Awards since 1999. Clark is the eldest child of legendary host and producer Dick Clark.
ACM Merle Haggard spirit award: Toby Keith. This award is presented to a singer-songwriter who is continuing the legacy of country legend Merle Haggard by following his or her own path, crafting great songs and epitomizing Haggard’s spirit through genuine performances and great storytelling.
ACM poet’s award: Loretta Lynn, Gretchen Peters and songwriter Curly Putman (posthumously). This award is presented to a country music songwriter for outstanding and longstanding musical and/or lyrical contributions throughout their career, with special consideration given to a song or songs’ impact on the culture of country music.
Tex Ritter film award: Ken Burns’ Country Music. This award recognizes an outstanding television movie, series or feature film released during the preceding calendar year which prominently features country music. Country Music, which premiered on PBS in 2019, was directed and produced by Ken Burns, written and produced by Dayton Duncan and produced by Julie Dunfey.
ACM songwriter of the year award: Hillary Lindsey. This award is presented to an individual known predominately as a songwriter, selected by a professional panel of judges composed of songwriters, publishers, producers, and performing rights organization representatives.
56th ACM Awards (2020 studio recording award winners):
Bass player of the year: Tony Lucido
Drummer of the year: Aaron Sterling
Guitar player of the year: J.T. Corenflos (awarded posthumously)
Piano/keyboards player of the year: Dave Cohen
Specialty instrument(s) player of the year: Ilya Toshinskiy
Steel guitar player of the year: Dan Dugmore & Mike Johnson (a tie)
Audio engineer of the year: F. Reid Shippen
Producer of the year: Jay Joyce
55th ACM Awards (2019 industry award winners):
Casino of the year – theater: The Joint: Tulsa – Tulsa, Okla.
Casino of the year – arena: MGM Grand Garden Arena – Las Vegas, Nev.
Fair/rodeo of the year: Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo – Houston, TX.
Festival of the year: Tortuga Music Festival – Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Club of the year: Joe’s Live – Rosemont, Ill.
Theater of the year: The Beacon Theatre – New York, N.Y.
Outdoor venue of the year: Red Rocks Amphitheatre – Morrison, Colo.
Arena of the year: Madison Square Garden – New York, N.Y.
Don Romeo talent buyer of the year: Gil Cunningham – Neste Live!
Promoter of the year: Brian O’Connell – Live Nation
55th ACM Awards (2019 studio recording award winners):
Bass player of the year: Jimmie Lee Sloas
Drummer of the year: Miles McPherson
Guitar player of the year: Rob McNelley
Piano/keyboards player of the year: Gordon Mote
Specialty instrument(s) player of the year: Jenee Fleenor
Steel guitar player of the year: Paul Franklin
Audio engineer of the year: Justin Niebank
Producer of the year: busbee (awarded posthumously)
For more information, visit ACMcountry.com. For information on ACM Lifting Lives, visit ACMliftinglives.org.