Rascal Flatts to headline CMC Rocks the Hunter

IT'S not our own festival, but after Tamworth many country fans count CMC Rocks the Hunter as their next favourite and there are plenty of reasons to love it next year.

The festival kicks off on March 15, running until Sunday, March 17, and will serve up some of the hottest international and Australian acts at Hope Estate in Pokolbin.

US hit country band Rascal Flatts will headline the Sunday night acts and will be joined on the weekend's line-up by Billy Ray Cyrus, Chris Young, The Band Perry, Adam Brand, Corb Lund and the Hurtin' Albertans, David Lee Murphy, Dean Brody and many more, including 2012 Toyota Star Maker Bob Corbett and Aleyce Simmonds.

Catherine Britt, Amber Lawrence, Morgan Evans, The Bluegrass All-Stars, Bob Corbett, Doug Bruce and the Tailgaters, Craig Morrison, The Wolfe Brothers and ex-pat US-based pioneers The LeGarde Twins will also take to the stage across the weekend.

Rascal Flatts are one of the most successful groups in country music history, with more than 21 million album sales, 25 million digital downloads and 13 US No. 1 singles during the course of their 13-year career, including Bless The Broken Road, Fast Cars and Freedom, What Hurts the Most, Life is a Highway and Banjo.

This will be the first time the six-time CMA Vocal Group of the Year winners have performed in Australia.

"We pride ourselves on delivering unique line-ups with huge international stars, and this year is no exception," promoter Michael Chugg said.

"People have been clamouring for Rascal Flatts for years, and we're thrilled to have them for what is sure to be another terrific CMC Rocks the Hunter."

In the 20 years since his nine-times-platinum debut album, Some Gave All, Billy Ray Cyrus has conquered music, TV and film.

He helped make country music a worldwide phenomenon with one of the biggest crossover singles in country history the Grammy-nominated Achy Breaky Heart and followed it up with 10 studio albums, 30 hit singles and more than 25 million album sales.

"There are artists from across the country and roots spectrum at this wonderful festival. Where else can you see the hottest young stars, like Grammy nominees The Band Perry and Chris Young, to cross- generational hitmakers like Rascal Flatts and Billy Ray Cyrus?" promoter Rob Potts said.

More announcements will be made in the lead-up to the March festival.

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