NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Country music fans descend on Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for the Memorial Day weekend to hear some of the hottest performers in the genre including Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean and Eric Church as part of the 2016 Bayou County Superfest.
The star-studded three-day festival — in its seventh year — annually draws thousands to Louisiana State University's Tiger Stadium. A free fan fest is planned before the stadium gates open for the ticketed concerts.
Performing Friday, on the festival's opening night with Bryan, are Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town and the Randy Rogers Band. On Saturday, Brothers Osborne, Frankie Ballard, Cole Swindell and Darius Rucker take the stage ahead of Church. Fans can see A Thousand Horses, Dustin Lynch, Thomas Rhett, Dierks Bentley and Aldean, who will close the festival's final night.
"It is a hot ticket, and we're going to have a lot of fun," Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden said. "This event generates a lot of enthusiasm. We get people from all over the country coming in; some even use that weekend for family reunions or class reunions. It's given us a special stake in the U.S. festival market."
Festival Productions Inc.'s Quint Davis, the festival's producer, agreed. He said walking through the stadium parking lot and seeing all the different license plates always makes him smile.
"It's one of the coolest things to see," he said. "I like seeing plates from everywhere — Massachusetts, Montana, North Carolina, you name it. People come from all over America, from Canada, from Europe."
Last year's event drew about 125,000 people, spurred by a Friday performance by Taylor Swift. "I don't know if we will equal that this year, but I think we could still do pretty good, with those on the ticket," Davis said.
He said one reason so many people are drawn to Superfest is the diverse selection of talent. "To be able, at the end of the day, to have this kind of talent all on the same weekend is just an incredible get," he said.
Holden said that after seven years, the festival "has grown into a tremendous boon for the city and parish."
"Fans come in and spend a lot of money and have a great time," he said. "It's a win-win situation for everyone."
At the fan fest, people can dance to the tunes of Corey Ledet & His Zydeco Band, Derek Norsworthy and the Morrison Brothers Band on Saturday, and High Ground Drifters Bluegrass Band, 90 Degrees West and Jordan Davis on Sunday.
Tickets were still available for all three days of the show.