With crowds increasing from 14,000 the first night to 17,000 for the finale this year , the Red, White & Boom Festival is settling in as a major country music festival in Lexington on Labor Day weekend.
Presenter WBUL-FM 98.1 announced Thursday morning the 2017 edition will be Sept. 1 to 3 at the Lexington Legends’ Whitaker Bank Ballpark with Luke Bryan on opening night and Blake Shelton closing it out. Sam Hunt will be Mr. Saturday night, and the primary support acts will be Brett Eldredge, Dustin Lynch, Maren Morris and Chris Janson. Additional acts will be named next year.
Tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. Nov. 25, better known as Black Friday in the holiday shopping world. Unlike this year’s edition, single-day and three-day tickets will go on sale simultaneously. Festival director Michael Jordan said that holding back the single-day tickets until just a few months before the event this year may have scared away some potential festivalgoers.
Tickets will be $69.50 single days and $169.50 for three days. All service fees are included in the prices. They will be available at the Whitaker Bank Ballpark box office, Lexingtonlegends.com and by calling 1-866-698-4253. Prices will increase later, Jordan said. There are also a variety of “VIP experiences,” as Jordan called them, starting at $299. They are detailed on the Boom ticket page.
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Prior to this year, Red, White & Boom had been a modestly scaled country music festival initially held in downtown Lexington on the Fourth of July and later moved to the ballpark. For 2016, the event got a significant upgrade with a lineup topped by Eric Church, Jason Aldean and Florida Georgia Line. Jordan said attendance topped out at 17,000 the final night, Sept. 4. This coming year, organizers are projecting a total three-day attendance of more than 60,000.
Jordan said the wait to announce artists to round out the bill, which totaled 12 this year, is to try to select up-and-coming artists who may be on the verge of a breakout year as the festival gets closer. He pointed to this year’s festival opener, Maren Morris, who is returning next year, as a success with that strategy as she won Best New Artist at this month’s CMA Awards.
Both Bryan and Shelton have a history of big outdoor shows in Lexington. Bryan headlined a show at Talon Winery in 2015 that may be remembered as much for the epic traffic jam it created on Tates Creek Road as it was for the actual show. Shelton headlined a 2010 concert on Courthouse Square to kick off festivities for the World Equestrian Games.
Well before Boom, WBUL is hosting its third annual Acoustic Jam concert at the Lexington Opera House on Dec. 6, headlined by Darius Rucker and featuring Bluegrass State stars John Michael Montgomery and Billy Ray Cyrus. Tickets are on sale now for the 12-artist concert, styled as a singer-songwriter night.