16-year dry spell over: Is Garth Brooks the start of more concerts at Neyland?


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The 16-year-old dry spell is over at Neyland Stadium. Since 2003, when Kenny Chesney rocked a stage at the UT venue with Brooks & Dunn and Keith Urban, there have been no other acts.

On Wednesday, the University of Tennessee announced country music giant Garth Brooks is bringing his stadium tour to campus November 16.

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Kim Bumpas, President of Visit Knoxville, said Wednesday they’re looking forward to working as a partner with the university for the big event.

She said they’ll work to secure things like discounted room rates and shuttles to and from the venue, basically in an effort to “roll out the red carpet for fans” from around the country.

While the concert will have an immediate economic impact through ticket sales, concessions (which now include alcohol), hotel and travel expenses, Bumpas also thinks the concert is a sign Neyland is back in the concert business after a hiatus.

The news comes months after Tennessee State Senator Becky Duncan Massey (R-District 6) championed the bill allowing alcohol sales at event venues at public universities. It’s now law.

Sen. Massey said Wednesday she’s glad to see the legislation, passed by the general assembly, bear fruit so quickly. She said the entire purpose of the legislation was to even the playing field for Knoxville, as other college campuses around the state allowed alcohol sales, and to create an economic impact.

“There are a lot of events, entertainers – they need alcohol sales to sweeten the pot, whether it goes to entertainer or promoter,” Massey said. The (law) “has enabled Knoxville and the University of Tennessee to get some big names that we could not ever get or ever have the hope to get before.”

Bumpas also said alcohol sales assisted in the booking.

“It’s going to be an epic event. It’s going to be magical. It’s going to be something like this town has never seen.”

Radio personalities Opie & Carina, morning show hosts for country music station 100.3, believe it will be a sold-out show.

“He’s (Brooks) probably the only artist in the format that can go to any city and sell out 100,000 seats like that. That’s how powerful this guy is. Everybody loves Garth and it doesn’t matter how old you are, his songs range decades.”

They said they play his songs daily, from 90s to current and say he “appeals to every demographic.”

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