Fayette County

Kentuckian Chris Stapleton to headline first concert at Kroger Field in Lexington

Lexington-born country music powerhouse Chris Stapleton will headline Kroger Field’s first concert.

Stapleton, who grew up in Johnson County, will perform at the University of Kentucky football stadium, formerly known as Commonwealth Stadium, on April 25. Tickets for the benefit concert will go on sale Oct. 11.

He will be joined by Willie Nelson, Sheryl Crow and Yola in what’s being billed as “A Concert for Kentucky.” Stapleton, who was at the concert announcement Wednesday, said Nelson and Crow are people he’s watched do good things over the years, and they inspired him.

“To get to come here to do this, to be the first person to play this field, and to have some friends like Willie Nelson, Sheryl Crow to help me do it, it’s a bucket-list thing for me,” Stapleton said.

All net proceeds will go to the Outlaw State of Kind, which is the charitable organization founded by Stapleton and his wife, Morgane. The money will be spent on music and arts education in Kentucky. Stapleton said he has been trying to play a charity concert In Kentucky “for a number of years.”

Stapleton could not make any promises about releasing new music prior to the April concert. “I don’t think so,” he said. But he has plenty of top hits to play.

It was not immediately clear how many tickets would be available in the venue. But there will be chairs on the field and well as seats in the stand, organizers said. There will also be a general admission pit on the field.

Live Nation Is partnering with University of Kentucky Athletics for the event.

“For anyone who has been to stadium shows, this will be bigger and better but similar in nature,” said Michael Belkin with Live Nation.

There was a sold-out crowd of more than 17,000 when Stapleton performed at Rupp Arena last October, which was his first headlining performance as a solo artist. He was also a headliner at Louisville’s Forecastle Festival in 2018.

All three of Stapleton’s albums have reached No. 1 on the U.S. Country Billboard chart. He has won five Grammy Awards, ten Academy of Country Music Awards and ten Country Music Association Awards since rising to fame with his 2015 album, “Traveller.”

Before performing his own music won him accolades, Stapleton wrote songs performed by other big artists, including hits for Thomas Rhett, Kenny Chesney and Luke Bryan.

Last week, Stapleton was honored by the Academy of Country Music as the Artist-Songwriter of the Decade.

If awards aren’t enough, Stapleton has had a cameo on “Game of Thrones,” appeared on the “Toy Story 4” soundtrack and was featured in songs with pop superstars P!nk, Justin Timberlake, Ed Sheeran and Sheryl Crow.

The upcoming event is Kroger Field’s first venture into concerts. Rupp Arena, which will host Casting Crowns, Ariana Grande, The Avett Brothers and Chris Young in the coming months, is known as the premier concert venue in Lexington.

“The idea that athletic director had for this facility was that it would be used beyond the 7-8 football games we have here every year,” said UK Executive Associate Athletic Director Jason Schlafer. “We have been able to do that in some of our premium spaces, but today we are really excited to announce a whole stadium use for this community.”

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