The ACM Awards will take place in Nashville again in 2021. The Academy of Country Music unveiled its plans for the annual awards show on Tuesday (Feb. 16), and they're likely to be quite similar to those for 2020's event.

The 2021 ACM Awards are set for April 18, a Sunday, and will air live on CBS beginning at 8PM ET. As they did in 2020 after the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the awards show from April until September and caused showrunners to move the event to Nashville for the first time ever, the ACMs will be staged at the Grand Ole Opry House, the Ryman Auditorium and the Bluebird Cafe, three legendary venues in Music City.

"We’re thrilled to return to Music City’s most iconic venues as we come together on April 18 to celebrate the best in country music, back in our normal awards cycle,” ACM CEO Damon Whiteside says in a press release. "A huge thank you to the city of Nashville, Grand Ole Opry House, Ryman Auditorium and Bluebird Cafe for welcoming us back to Nashville, where we can look out for the safety of our artists while shining a spotlight on this vibrant city after a tough 2020."

Because the ACM was established to spotlight and promote West Coast-based country music and its artists, the ACM Awards had taken place in the Los Angeles, Calif., area or Las Vegas, Nev., since their inception, save for when the show temporarily moved to the Dallas, Texas, area to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2015. However, as many of the artists involved with the Academy and the awards show are based in Nashville, the event's 2020 move ensured that the ACM Awards could take place live and in person, even if no fans were allowed and artists had to be scattered across the city.

Whether the 2020 ACM Awards' full slate of COVID-19 safety protocols -- a skeleton crew, pared-down performances and strict masking and social distancing rules among them -- will again be in place in 2021 remains to be seen. The Opry House and the Ryman have been allowing a limited number of fans at recent performances, though the much smaller Bluebird Cafe remains closed to the public.

"The health and safety of the artists, fans, industry, staff and partners involved in the ACM Awards is the number one priority," the Academy's press release notes. "All guidelines set forth by national, state and local health officials will be closely followed and implemented during the production, along with additional safety measures to be instated by Dick Clark Productions and the Academy of Country Music."

The 2021 ACM Awards are the 56th annual iteration of the event. Additional details, including a host, awards nominees and show performers, as well as who will be allowed to attend the event in person, will be announced in the coming weeks.

In recognition of the ACM Awards' 2021 return to Nashville, the Academy's charitable arm, ACM Lifting Lives, is making a $25,000 donation to the Music City, Inc. Foundation's Nashville Christmas Day Explosion Relief Fund. The money will specifically go to musicians who are out of work due to damage sustained by several venues in a bombing on 2nd Avenue North in downtown Nashville on Christmas 2020. The bombing site is only a couple of blocks away from the Ryman.

"The impact of the explosion was felt throughout the music community," says ACM Lifting Lives Executive Director Lyndsay Cruz, "and we hope this donation can help alleviate some of the burden on the community.”

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