A new country festival is coming to Gonzales this fall, with organizers hoping to lure crowds of music lovers who used to come to Baton Rouge for Bayou Country Superfest.
More than 25 country and classic rock artists will perform across multiple stages from noon to 11 p.m. Oct. 7-8 at the newly-crowned Ascension Fields at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center for the inaugural Flambeau Fest.
Mark Miller of Pi Entertainment made the announcement Wednesday morning. The group is in charge of putting on the festival, and Miller is the director of Flambeau Fest. Also on hand at the announcement were Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, Lamar-Dixon general manager Kyle Rodgers, and Ascension Parish president Kenny Matassa.
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Headliners for Flambeau Fest will be announced Monday, Aug. 7. Tickets will go on sale that day too. Early bird pre-sale two-day tickets general admission are $119. General admission two-day tickets are $149. VIP tickets start at $319.
Miller said patrons can expect some of the best country artists to be announced as headliners.
"We will have some of the hottest country acts in the nation, as well as some of the most burning, emerging country artists out there," Miller said. "We're also going to stack the deck in our favor with our regional acts. There's some fantastic talent in this town."
In addition to a main stage and Flambeau Stage, the festival will feature a Songwriter in the Round stage; Louisiana Libations tent with locally crafted beers, wines and spirits; VIP amenities; and local food vendors. The Lamar-Dixon Expo center will also dedicate 135 RV lots on the center's grounds to festival goers.
Ascension Parish has more than 25 hotels and bed-and-breakfast places, parish officials said. The parish and Pi Entertainment also will work with neighboring tourism officials to ensure additional accommodations.
It's expected visitors will be able to make good use of a road project that's on schedule to be completed by the time the festival opens in October, parish officials said.
Edenborne Parkway, which runs through the Edenborne development, is being extended to South St. Landry Avenue, where Lamar-Dixon is located, and will provide, for the first time, two routes to Lamar-Dixon from Interstate 10: one from La. 30 and one from La. 44.
For Ascension Parish officials, one draw is the potential larger economic benefit for local businesses. Matassa said Flambeau Fest will put the parish on the map as "a destination for music and culture."
Bayou Country Superfest, held during Memorial Day weekend, drew crowds as big as 135,000 in 2014 when George Strait headlined the event in LSU's Tiger Stadium. Crowds dropped to 125,000 in 2015 and 100,000 in 2016, respectively. Last year, the festival moved to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, but crowds continued to decline in 2017 even with headliners such as Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert and Thomas Rhett. Total attendance for Bayou Country Superfest in 2017 was approximately 60,000.
For more information and to keep up with the festival announcements, visit flambeaufestival.com.
Advocate staff writer Ellyn Couvillion contributed to this story.