Buckeye Country Superfest brings big names to the Shoe

By Kevin Joy The Columbus Dispatch  •  Tuesday October 7, 2014 2:45 PM

Barbara J. Perenic | Dispatch file photo
Rascal Flatts will be one of the acts that will headline the Buckeye Country Superfest next summer.

Live music will return to Ohio Stadium for the first time in 11 years.Kenny Chesney, Blake Shelton, Keith Urban and Rascal Flatts will headline the Buckeye Country Superfest, a two-day concert set for June 20-21 in the stadium.Show producer Quint Davis, whose Louisiana-based Festival Productions, Inc., has staged similar country festivals in Baton Rouge, La., and Jacksonville, Fla., scoured a “who’s-who of American stadiums” in search of a third location.Buoyed by the Shoe’s location and in-house production team, “we ended up here.”

The Columbus show, with reserved seating on the field and the stands, can accommodate 60,000 fans per day. RV camping will be offered – as will sales of beer and liquor.

The eighth and most recent Ohio Stadium concert was a hard-rock festival featuring Metallica in July 2003.

A stream of construction and improvement projects in the stadium explain the hiatus, said Xen Riggs, an associate vice president who oversees OSU’s major-event buildings.

Also at play is the fact that a super-size stadium show takes about 10 days from setup to teardown – making it impossible to book a show during commencement or football season.

Now, though, the university is using the Buckeye Country Superfest as a litmus test to bring more music to the upgraded stadium.

“We cannot have an asset of this magnitude and this level of importance sit idle and just rely on the seven or eight football games,” said OSU Vice-President and Director of Athletics Gene Smith.

Smith said he hopes the stadium might one day host three or four concerts per year.

That’s a sizable boost in comparison to the venue’s past frequency.

Pink Floyd headlined the stadium’s first concert in 1988. Following were gigs by Genesis (1992); Billy Joel/Elton John and a Pink Floyd return (both in 1994); the Rolling Stones and U2 (both in 1997); George Strait (1998) and Metallica.

Buckeye Country Superfest tickets, at $40 to $250, will go on sale at 10 a.m. Oct. 14.

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