Thursday afternoon at the Vanier Football Complex, K-State athletics director John Currie announced that the Bill Snyder Family Stadium will be hosting a concert in the fall.
Three-time Grammy Award winner Zac Brown Band and multi-platinum pop rock band Train will perform in the stadium Sept. 10.
The concert will be sandwiched between the Wildcats’ road game at Stanford on Sept. 2, and the home opener against Florida Atlantic on Sept. 17.
Other stadiums they will be playing in include Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, Turner Field, home of the Atlanta Braves, and Citi Field, home to the New York Mets, according to Currie.
“We know how important K-State football weekends and 50,000 fans are to our local economy and merchants,” Currie said. “When it became apparent that we would only have six home football games in 2016 instead of the seven, which we have become accustomed to, we wanted to find another way to bring a major fall event to the community and Bill Snyder Family Stadium.”
The economic impact of football games is something that has been a big part of the growth of the Manhattan community, according to Karen McCulloh, Manhattan mayor.
“Every home football game is a true treasure for us here in Manhattan,” McCulloh said. “Obviously there’s a lot of work and staffing that go with it, but it’s a wonderful chance to bring people to our town and we hope they come back. We’ve become kind of a foodie town and we’ve got a lot of things to offer that people haven’t seen, so maybe they come back for a game.”
Getting an extra event and bringing in extra revenue for Manhattan is something that McCulloh said she thought was critical.
“We appreciate athletics doing this to help us out,” McCulloh added.
The concert is an opportunity that Jessica Van Ranken, student body president and junior in political science, said students are very excited to take advantage of.
“I can say that students will be, and already are, excited about this incredible opportunity to welcome members of the Manhattan community and beyond into their beloved stadium to experience this fantastic entertainment opportunity,” Van Ranken said.
The concert is the first one to take place at the stadium since 1987. The last performer was Willie Nelson when he played at what was then KSU Stadium, according to the K-State Sports press release for the event.
“The touring music industry has changed so much over the last 20-30 years and a lot of the shows are locked in to specific promoters and building operators around the country,” Currie said. “But we were able to work with the DeWaards to find an opportunity.”
A large contributor to this concert becoming a reality is Basis Entertainment, which will be the main host of the event.
Gary DeWaard, executive of Basis Entertainment, said the Zac Brown Band was the first choice at the top of his list, and despite some typical struggles that can happen in planning an event of this nature, he is very pleased it worked out as they had hoped.
“There’s a lot of moving parts when it comes to touring and finding the routing of when they come through,” DeWaard said. “I will say that Zac was number one on the list so it worked out the way that we wanted to this time, but in a lot of instances, there’s a lot of juggling around to find the entertainers who can fit the profile of the community around the tour that they’re currently on.”
According to DeWaard, the stage will be set up in the north end zone of the stadium and will face to the south end zone, wrapping around into the first couple sections of the stands. The seating will be approximately 8,000 on the field, as well as the remaining sections that are not being used by the stage.
Despite the usual rules of Bill Snyder Family Stadium, where alcohol is not sold throughout the stadium for home football games, it will be available for purchase at the concert for those of legal drinking age, Currie said.
“In accordance with university policy, and our athletic policies, there will be alcohol sales at the stadium,” Currie said. “That is all by our third party concessionaire Sodexo, so they have the responsibility to ensure compliance with all alcohol regulations.”
Tickets will go on sale beginning May 3 to members of the Zac Brown Band fan club. Students of K-State will have the opportunity to purchase tickets on May 9, and the general public will have the chance to buy tickets on May 13.
Ticket sales begin at $39 each, and all sales will begin at 10 a.m. central time on the assigned date of sale, according to DeWaard.
McCulloh said she hopes that the event goes well in order to possibly host another one in the near future.
“We’d like to see it happen again, but we don’t have a lot of input with sports and sports activities,” McCulloh said. “I’m definitely please and surprised that they’re willing to let us use the football stadium for this event. We’ll hope that it goes really well and the practices go well and perhaps we can do something next year on the bye game.”