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ACM Awards: Transforming Two Stadiums Into Country Music Venues

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ARLINGTON (CBS 11 NEWS) - Preparations for the Academy of Country Music Awards are well underway in Arlington, where hundreds of workers are rushing to transform two sports venues into concert venues.

For Bob Romeo, the CEO of the ACM, the planning began years ago.

"I don't think anyone can grasp the enormity of what we've got," said Romeo.


The 50th anniversary of the awards could break two Guinness world records by Sunday – one for largest attendance of a live TV awards show, and one for largest parade of pickup trucks (one of the side events over the weekend).

On why organizers wanted to hold the show in Dallas this year, instead of Las Vegas as in years past: "I don't have to say the word big here. That's the goal we're looking for, so the industry will look and know this is a huge event," said Romeo.

This Sunday's awards show will be bigger than ever – in front of a live audience of 65,000 fans.

Tickets sold out in minutes and crews have worked for weeks on AT&T Stadium. Every bit of the set up and production was specially to turn the football venuie into a live TV studio, including 350,000 pounds of rigging and a 100,000 square foot blackout curtain for the retractable roof.

"When you've got 70,000 people screaming, it's going to be a supercharged emotion," said Romeo.

Down the road at Globe Life Park, crews had just 36 hours to transform the baseball field from Wednesday night's Rangers game into an outdoor music venue.

The park and surrounding field will host the Friday and Saturday night concerts and fan festival.

Vendors from all over Texas and beyond spent Thursday setting up pop up shops.

They're selling everything from hand-carved magnifying glasses to embroidered cowboy boots and bedazzled guitars.

"It's lots of work. Several weeks of preparation and then getting here," said Bayli Johnson, whose family owns Twisted J boutique and ranch in Stephenville.

"This is going to be wild. This is going to be a neat weekend. I think we're all going to enjoy it and meet a lot of people," said Dale Lostracco, whose business is called Handcrafted With Pride.

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