Three Concert Specials Feature Hank Williams Jr., Lynyrd Skynyrd and Dierks Bentley

NASHVILLE – June 6, 2006 – For the last 39 years, music fans have congregated in Milwaukee, WI for 11 straight days of live concerts, celebrating the best of music from all genres. For the first time, CMT will present three, one-hour concert specials from Summerfest 2006, highlighting some of country music's best. TOYOTA PRESENTS CMT AT SUMMERFEST 2006, premieres July 14-16 on CMT at 8 p.m. ET/PT and features a different artist each night - Hank Williams Jr., Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Dierks Bentley.

“Summerfest is an incredible music festival with an outstanding array of artists participating each year,” says Chris Parr, vice president music programming and talent relations, CMT. “We, along with Toyota, look forward to bringing the music and excitement of Hank, Skynyrd and Dierks to the CMT audience.”

“Country music is the fabric of America,” says Steve Jett, national truck advertising and engagement marketing manager for Toyota Motor Sales. “It speaks to the authenticity of what life is all about. We’re new to the country music scene so we wanted to partner with the very best, and CMT is the perfect media partner for the Toyota brand. We’re thrilled to be the presenting sponsor of CMT at Summerfest 2006.”

”We are excited and honored to be working closely with CMT to bring Milwaukee’s Summerfest, the World’s Largest Music Festival, to fans and viewers all across America,” stated Don Smiley, president and chief executive officer of Milwaukee World Festival, Inc., the organization responsible for planning, promoting and producing the event.

Hank Williams Jr.’s raw creativity and passion has shaped the history of country music for over five decades. The five-time Entertainer of the Year will release his 70th album this year, boasts three multi-platinum albums, eight platinum albums and has sold more than 50 million albums worldwide. Williams holds the distinction of being the first country artist to ever win an Emmy, a feat he repeated 1990 through 1993 for his Monday Night Football anthem, “Are You Ready for Some Football?” Recently, CMT presented Williams with the distinguished "Johnny Cash Visionary Award."

Lynyrd Skynyrd began their career in 1973 with the release of their cleverly titled “pronounced leh-nerd skin-nerd.” With their recent induction into the prestigious Rock and Rock Hall of Fame and more than 25 million albums sold to date, the band has become an American staple and a permanent fixture in rock n’ roll history.  In 2003, the band celebrated their 30th anniversary with the release of the studio album, “Vicious Cycle,” which was augmented by a major worldwide tour and the release of the DVD “Lynyrd Skynyrd Lyve: The Vicious Cycle Tour.” One of the hardest working groups in music today, Lynyrd Skynyrd performs hundreds of shows each year.

Dierks Bentley is one of country music’s biggest rising stars.  Bentley spent years perfecting his craft and playing live shows in the Nashville honkytonks of Lower Broadway.  As his songwriting improved, he recorded a demo, which led to a publishing deal.  In 2003, Capitol Nashville released his self-titled album, which featured his No. 1 single, “What Was I Thinkin’?”  Since that No 1., Bentley – the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry -  has gone on to win the CMT Flameworthy Award for Breakout Video, the ACM Top New Artist, CMA Horizon Award and has recently seen his star rise as he found himself as the ACM Male Vocalist of the Year nominee alongside superstars George Strait, Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban and Brad Paisley.   His latest CD, Modern Day Drifter, is a hard-hitting album from Capitol Records and has also been certified Platinum.  With tracks like the No. 1 hit “Come A Little Closer," "Lot of Leavin' Left to Do" and “Settle for a Slowdown,” Bentley has solidified his role as a mainstay in country music.

CMT, America’s No. 1 country music network, carries original programming, specials, and live concerts and events, as well as a mix of videos by established country music artists and new cutting-edge acts, including world premiere exclusive videos. Founded March 6, 1983, CMT, owned and operated by MTV Networks, reaches 82.5 million households in the United States. Go to country music’s biggest web site at www.cmt.com.

Toyota established operations in the United States in 1957 and currently operates ten manufacturing plants including one under construction. There are more than 1,400 Toyota, Lexus and Scion dealerships in the U.S. which sell more than 2 million vehicles a year. Toyota directly employs more than 32,000 people in the U.S. and its investment here is currently valued at more than $13 billion, including sales and manufacturing operations, research and development, financial services and design.
Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. is a not for profit corporation responsible for promoting and producing Summerfest, the World’s Largest Music Festival. Summerfest operates June 29 – July 9 from Noon until Midnight daily, providing an unforgettable live music experience featuring over 700 performances in 11 days. The beautiful lakefront setting combined with diverse food, attractions, activities and musical line-ups, create a quality festival experience for patrons of all ages. Patrons can also enjoy Miller Lite, the Official Beer of Summerfest. For more details on the World’s Largest Music Festival visit www.summerfest.com.

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Nicole Pope            615-335-8406      nicole.pope@cmt.com


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