In its first two years, the Bayou Country Superfest was built around two headline performers, one for each of its Memorial Day weekend nights.
Next year, the star factor is increasing from two to four.
And for the first time, none of them is named Kenny Chesney.
Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts, Keith Urban and Jason Aldean get the top billing for the third annual Bayou Country Superfest, which will be held May 26-27 at LSU’s Tiger Stadium.
Underwood and Urban will perform on the Saturday opening night after performances by Eric Church, Little Big Town and Jerrod Niemann. Rascal Flatts and Aldean will be the feature acts on Sunday night, following performances by Dierks Bentley, Sara Evans and Joe Nichols.
The lineup, announced at a Wednesday morning news conference at Tiger Stadium, indicates that the Superfest has made an impact, said Quint Davis, the festival’s producer and director.
“Now the festival has grown to the point where it has the credibility with the artists and within the industry that the artists want to be a part of it,” Davis said.
Davis cited Aldean, who has had six singles reach the top of the country charts and two platinum-selling albums, as an example.
“Jason Aldean is probably the hottest ticket-selling country artist in America right now, 25,000 a night” Davis said. “We desperately wanted him on the festival. His agent called me before I called him, I’m embarrassed to say.
“He said, ‘You all were one of the most successful events in America last year … and we wanted to be on it.’ That says it all.”
Underwood has sold more than 13 million CDs, was the first country artist ever to have 10 No. 1 singles from her first two albums and is a two-time Academy of Country Music Entertainer of the Year.
The New Zealand-born Urban is another multiplatinum and Grammy-honored artist, and Rascal Flatts, a group made up of Gary LeVox, Jay DeMarcus and Joe Don Rooney, has had 13 No. 1 singles and has received nearly 40 major awards.
Superfest will start an hour later than in previous years so both of the top acts will perform after nightfall, when production elements like the video screens and pyrotechnics will have the greatest effect. Gates will open at 3 p.m., with shows starting at 5 p.m.
The first two Superfests drew crowds of about 85,000 and 75,000, said Matthew Goldman, business development and corporate relations representative for Festival Productions in New Orleans. Fans came from 47 states and Canada, Goldman said.
Reserved-seat tickets in two-day packages and reserved parking for the event go on sale 10 a.m. Oct. 20 online at http://www.ticketmaster.com, at Ticketmaster outlets or by calling (800) 745-3000. One-day tickets range from $50-$250, and two-day tickets range from $80-$500.
News conference speakers were LSU Athletics Director Joe Alleva; Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne; Mayor Kip Holden; Tim Mockler of Mockler Beverage, one of the major sponsors; and Paul Arrigo, president and CEO of the Baton Rouge Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Holden came dressed in a two-tone western shirt, snakeskin boots, string tie and a black cowboy hat with flames painted on the turned-up side brims.
“If we figured out we could draw 50,000 people to Baton Rouge for a polka festival, he’d be up here in lederhosen today,” Davis said.