Not only has Lambeau Field been long admired as one of the best football venues in the country, the Green Bay Packers are now also hoping to make this renowned facility a top venue for other major events.
Thursday morning, the Green Bay Packers and PMI Entertainment Group held a press conference to announce Lambeau Field’s first major concert event, Kenny Chesney’s 2011 Goin’ Coastal Tour. The tour, which will include the Zac Brown Band as co-headliner, and feature performances from Billy Currington and Uncle Kracker, will be held Saturday, June 11, 2011, at Lambeau Field.
This has been an event long in the works and Green Bay Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy is excited to finally make the event a reality.
“This is something we have been working on for quite a bit of time and we are really excited to finally have worked everything out,” he said. “Kenny Chesney is one of the top artists in the country and also a huge football fan. I know he is excited about having the opportunity to play a concert here at Lambeau Field.”
Ken Wachter, President of the PMI Entertainment Group, knows the economic impact such a large event has on the community and is confident this tour stop will benefit the area as a whole.
“This is not just a Kenny Chesney concert; this is a major event for the community,” Wachter said. “This is six hours of probably some of the best country music you will hear.”
Such a production is not a small task. In fact, it takes 55 semi trucks for the show to travel, 28 buses for the band and the crew, 2,400 square feet of High Definition LED screens for the show, and more than 200 employees each day, starting Tuesday, June 6.
“We all know that Lambeau Field is the greatest football venue in the United States,” Wachter said. “Our goal in doing this is that on June 11, we hope it is one of the greatest concert venues in the United States and we are sure that is going to happen.”
The Green Bay Packers and PMI took several factors into consideration when looking for the right artist, and one who was ready and willing to come to Lambeau.
“There are many artists who prefer a larger market and although Green Bay has a big heart, it is a smaller market,” said Ann Pattenson, chair of the Green Bay/Brown County Professional Football Stadium District. “We are particularly appreciative of Kenny Chesney and that he is willing to come to a smaller market.
“He has a following that is more than just those who like country music and we know Wisconsin is a great country market as we have had great success with country music all over the state. We thought he was a perfect fit for Lambeau Field and Green Bay.”
With such a major event taking place, the Green Bay Packers made certain that minimal damage would be done to the field. In comparison to other stadium venues, which have artificial turf, Lambeau Field uses a GrassMaster system, a combination of artificial and natural grass. While this system makes it more difficult to replace damaged areas, the organization is confident that the organization has taken the proper precautions to keep the field safe.
“Over the past few years we have tested different perforated surfaces that will cover the field to make sure little damage would occur,” said Jason Wied, Packers vice president of administration/general counsel. “We are aware that some damage might occur, just covering the grass for a short period of time. However, we are confident that the grass will be back and in very good shape by the start of the season in August.”
The Green Bay Packers and PMI Entertainment plan to have the entire field covered, allowing room for the stage and seating for 7,500 – 8,000 on the field, while the remaining fans will fill the stands.
Already creating buzz, members of the Kaukauna High School girls’ varsity volleyball team got word of the concert as they were passing through the Lambeau Field Atrium prior to their appearance in the WIAA Division 1 State Volleyball Tournament at the Resch Center. And most of the girls seemed excited about the concert.
“That’s awesome,” Jordan Haen from Kaukauna said. “I like both Kenny Chesney and the Zac Brown Band a lot.”
Of all the stadiums the band is planning for this tour, there is an attraction for all the performers to be the first major concert event since 1985, according to Wachter.
“There is a real attraction to Lambeau and people were interested in the opportunity to perform at Lambeau…I know on the Chesney side they were very excited,” he said. “When the Chesney people came and spent the day with Ted’s staff (Ted Eisenreich, Packers director of facility operations), they noticed that this is the only stadium where they wouldn’t play with an upper deck. For them, this is an intimate setting compared to the other stadium venues they have played.”
Tickets go on sale Saturday, Dec. 11, at 10 a.m. at all Ticketmaster locations, Ticketmaster.com, by phone 800.745.3000 and at the Lambeau Field Box Office. Tickets are $31*, $81*, $101*, $127*, $252* (sandbar). *Additional fees may apply.
Chesney will co-headline the stadium dates with Zac Brown Band, GRAMMY's "Best New Artist" in 2010 whose latest album 'You Get What You Give' debuted at #1 on the Billboard top 200. Multi-GRAMMY nominee Billy Currington has secured the highly coveted support slot powered by six No. 1 Billboard country singles and the success of his fourth and latest album 'Enjoy Yourself.' Uncle Kracker, who sang with Chesney on the #1 country hit "When The Sun Goes Down," will open.
The man the Associated Press calls "among the hardest charging acts on the road" is already excited about returning to the stage. "We're going to be playing new songs and lots of old favorites, and I can already tell it's going to be a lot of fun," says Chesney. "I can't wait to get back in front of my fans."
"With four acts on the bill, we've created these shows as all-day events, and are working hard to make them affordable for our fans," says tour promoter Louis Messina. Chesney will make tickets available at $31 for the Lambeau Field date.
Chesney took a break from the road in 2010 to record his new album 'Hemingway's Whiskey' (BNA Records), which entered the Billboard 200 at #1 (his sixth album to achieve that feat) and to produce "The Boys of Fall," the documentary about high school football now available for pre-order at http://www.walmart.com and in Walmart beginning November 9. "I've always loved playing stadiums because I get to see so many of my fans at one time, but after everything I learned from the football heroes I met while making 'The Boys of Fall,' I'm seeing stadiums in a whole new way," Chesney says.
Kenny Chesney 2011 Tour (Stadium Dates Only – co-headline with Zac Brown Band)
Sat Mar 19 - Tampa, FL - Raymond James Stadium
Sat Apr 16 – Dallas, TX - Cowboys Stadium
Sat Jun 4 – Washington, DC - FedEx Field
Sat Jun 11 - Green Bay, WI - Lambeau Field
Sat Jun 18 – Philadelphia, PA - Lincoln Financial Field
Sat Jul 2 – Pittsburgh, PA - Heinz Field
Sat Jul 30 - Kansas City, MO - Arrowhead Stadium
Sat Aug 20 – Detroit, MI - Ford Field
Sat Aug 27- Foxboro, MA - Gillette Stadium
The tour is billed as Kenny Chesney’s Goin’ Coastal Tour, starring Kenny Chesney and Zac Brown Band.
Click here to view video from the announcement.