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Updated: Sun, 08 Sep 2013 16:58:16 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Country music fans prepare for CCMAs

Country music fans prepare for CCMAs

It's a big night for country music in Canada.

Fans from across the country will be tuning in the Canadian Country Music Awards are held at Rexall Place in Edmonton.

The show will celebrate some of the biggest country names in Canada — including Alberta's Gord Bamford who has seven nominations – as well as some rising stars like MacKenzie Porter.

Growing up in a musical family (her brother, Kalan, won Canadian Idol), Porter’s country dreams started when she was only six years old.

"Pretty much everybody in my entire family, including my cousins, my grandma, my dad, my sister, my brother, they were all in bands growing up," she said.

"I would say it's in your genes. Luckily I had the best of both so I was able to be nurtured through music."

"I feel like I have a gift as a songwriter and an entertainer that I want to share with people."

Also nominated in the Rising Star category is 37-year-old Bobby Wills.

Unlike Porter, Wills did not grow up in a musical house. His first time performing on stage was the result of a bet, not a childhood dream.

The crowd loved it.

Since that performance, Wills' popularity has continued to grow. Tonight, he is also nominated for both Male Artist of the Year and Single of the Year for his song Show Some Respect.

You can watch the awards live on CBC television tonight, beginning at 8 p.m. MT., or streaming live here.

- CBC Music's coverage of the CCMAS

Leading up to the CCMAs

While Sunday’s award should is undoubtedly the main attractions, activities and concerts have been held all weekend as a lead up to the big affair

At Saturday’s FanFest, CBC’s Travis McEwan spoke to one woman who describes herself as Canadian country music’s biggest fan.

“I'm pretty much one of the biggest there is. If you ask me a song or an artist, I can tell you what it is by the first number of chords what it is,” said Chelsea Mullan.

Mullan secured a prime spot at Saturday’s free concert series, which was put together by the CCMA organizers to give fans the chance to get up close and personal with some of their idols.

“It's our gift back to the city for having us. It's a free event. We have 16 of our top artists here. They get on stage and sing some of their songs,” said Don Green, president of the CCMAs.

“People don't just listen to country music in Alberta – they live their country music. They grew up on farms [and] drive pickup trucks,” said previous CCMA winner Jason Blaine, who played at this year’s FanFest.

Both Blaine and Mullan – who won her tickets – will be attending the CCMAs tonight.

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