Bayou Country Superfest, we hardly knew ye.
After a two-year stopover in New Orleans, the annual Memorial Day weekend music festival returns to Baton Rouge, its city of origin, this weekend.
On Saturday and Sunday, LSU’s Tiger Stadium will once again host twang instead of touchdowns with a line-up that should be familiar to fans of the festival.
Kenny Chesney, Florida Georgia Line, Dan + Shay and Cassadee Pope are on tap for Saturday's opening of the 10th Superfest; Pope kicks off the show at 5:30 p.m. Jason Aldean headlines Sunday, preceded by Kane Brown, Brett Young, Chase Rice and Parish County Line, starting at 5:15 p.m.
Single-day tickets start at $65 for the general admission area at the back of Tiger Stadium’s lower bowl. Reserved seat tickets start at $75 plus fees. Tiger Stadium's clear bag policy will be in effect.
Superfest is produced by a subsidiary of Quint Davis' Festival Productions Inc.-New Orleans, along with AEG Presents and the Messina Touring Group. Festival Productions and AEG also produce the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
Speaking earlier this year of his building’s loss of the festival, Mercedes-Benz Superdome general manager Alan Freeman struck a magnanimous tone.
“As with all things, the concert business is constantly evolving and even though the event had two pretty successful years in New Orleans, especially in 2018, the time was right for it to return to Baton Rouge,” he said. “We wish them nothing but continued success."
Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean and Florida Georgia Line will perform when Bayou Country Superfest returns to Baton Rouge where the Memorial Weeke…
The inaugural Bayou Country Superfest in 2010 got off to a fast start with Taylor Swift, who hadn't yet fully transitioned from country to pop music, in her first stadium headlining concert.
Country icon George Strait drew one of the largest crowds in Bayou Country Superfest history to Tiger Stadium in 2014, when the festival added Friday to its traditional Saturday-Sunday schedule to accommodate a stop on Strait's "Cowboy Rides Away" farewell tour. Attendance for the three-night 2014 Superfest was 135,000, the most in the festival's history.
Attendance in 2015 totaled 125,000, thanks in large part to Swift's return as part of her "1989" tour. About 100,000 fans passed through the gates of the three-night 2016 Superfest in Tiger Stadium.
That August, as Davis sought a new, three-year contract to stage the festival in Tiger Stadium, LSU officials said the facility wouldn’t be available in 2017 or 2018 because of major renovations scheduled for the months between football seasons.
Forced to find a new home for 2017, Davis inquired about several college football stadiums throughout the Southeastern Conference before ultimately settling on the Superdome.
The first Superfest in New Orleans included two nights at the Dome featuring Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, Thomas Rhett, Brooks & Dunn, Hank Williams Jr., Rascal Flatts and Brett Eldredge, plus a free show at Champions Square. Attendance totaled a disappointing 60,000 and marked the third consecutive year of declining attendance.
The shift from an outdoor stadium in Baton Rouge to an indoor stadium in New Orleans likely turned off some fans. Tailgating on the LSU campus was always part of the Superfest experience. Downtown New Orleans was not as conducive to tailgating.
But a larger dynamic was also at work. In the decade since the Superfest’s inception, music festivals in general, and country festivals in particular, have proliferated. More festivals means more options for fans.
After two years in New Orleans, Bayou Country Superfest is returning to LSU's Tiger Stadium in 2019, lured in part by local and state financia…
And while the number of festivals has grown, the number of country acts capable of attracting large crowds to those festivals hasn’t.
All three 2019 headliners have previously performed at Bayou Country Superfest. Aldean has been on the bill for five of the 10 Superfests, including the fest’s inaugural year in 2010 and again in 2012, 2014 and 2016.
Chesney also performed the festival's first year, and was back in 2011 and 2015. Florida Georgia Line previously appeared in 2014.
Given the familiarity of these faces, some fan burnout is to be expected. Organizers, aided by hundreds of thousands of promotional dollars contributed by state and Baton Rouge tourism entities, must work hard to sell the Superfest’s much ballyhooed return to Baton Rouge. With less than two weeks until the show, thousands of tickets remained for each night. Barring a considerable amount of walk-up sales, there will be a significant number of empty seats in Tiger Stadium this weekend.
That stands in contrast to Bayou Country Superfest’s sold-out final New Orleans installment. But the 2018 event wasn’t really a “superfest”: it was a stand-alone George Strait concert stamped with the “Bayou Country Superfest” brand name and beefed up by a top-notch undercard of Chris Stapleton, Little Big Town, Kacey Musgraves and Midland. All 53,000 available tickets were sold.
Other than Strait and Garth Brooks, who has never played the Bayou Country Superfest, no other country artist is likely able to sell out a stadium — in either New Orleans or Baton Rouge.