NEW ORLEANS — A country music festival bumped from LSU’s Tiger Stadium for two years by offseason renovations will be held next Memorial Day weekend in New Orleans, and the Superdome could become its permanent home, an official said Tuesday.
Next year’s Country Music Superfest will have a new feature: a free outdoor concert Friday night, May 26, said Quint Davis, CEO of Festival Productions Inc.
If the two-day indoor festival that follows May 27-28 is a success, he said, it might not return to Baton Rouge in 2019.
“Everybody involved … everything is designed and pointed toward a multi-year annual event,” Davis said.
But, he said, it’s too early to say where the 2018 festival will be, let alone the one in 2019.
“It’s up to the people. Do they come? Do they embrace it, do they love it? Otherwise, if people don’t come, it’s like the world’s greatest country music sound-check,” he said.
LSU said in August that it will renovate bathrooms and concession stands and make other stadium improvements after the 2016 and 2017 football seasons, making it impossible for the music festival to use Tiger Stadium.
“If LSU had been able to host it … we would have been there. We were talking about another three-year agreement,” Davis said.
The Superfest has been held at the 102,000-seat stadium in Baton Rouge since it started in 2010. It expanded from two nights to three in 2014.
That year, George Strait and Reba McEntire helped draw a record 135,000 fans. Attendance fell to 125,000 in 2015 and 100,000 last year.
Davis said falling attendance isn’t the reason for the change back.
He said the Fridays were added because “We had some extraordinary things — Taylor Swift starting her tour, George Strait making it one of the last concerts on his retirement tour. We had the flexibility to add the Friday. But traditionally from the beginning this was a two-night stadium festival.”
Davis said the New Orleans Food and Wine Festival has had the 76,500-seat Superdome booked up for the Memorial Day weekend for a decade or more, but is moving to the city’s convention center next year.
“So coincidentally or fate or whatever you call it — the year we need to go somewhere is the first year that the Dome is open on Memorial Weekend,” he said.