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* 2008 Downtown Hoedown Expected To Welcome 1.5 Million Country Fans To Detroit *
PHOTO BY JENNIFER VUONG / ©AMERICAJR.com
AmericaJR.com's Jason Rzucidlo reports LIVE from Hart Plaza for the Downtown Hoedown.
DETROIT -- The 26th Annual Downtown Hoedown will rock Detroit's Hart Plaza with 22 national acts, 34 local bands, three stages and lots of fun for the entire family. Attendance figures are expected to be around 1.5 million people during the course of the weekend from May 9 - 11. Stages will be set up to their original configuration with a third stage added along the riverfront. The Downtown Hoedown is considered the World's Largest FREE Country Concert.
The Downtown Hoedown started in 1983 as a one-day event with Hank Williams Jr., Tanya Tucker, The Kendals, Brenda Lee and Mel Tillis as its performers. It has evolved into a three-day music festival featuring local bands, Nashville newcomers and established artists. The Hoedown is the stage where new artists get noticed and become famous. Gretchen Wilson performed her first concert at the Hoedown in 2004 when no one knew who she was. This year she will be headlining on Sunday night. Garth Brooks, George Jones, Toby Keith, The Dixie Chicks and Waylon Jennings have all played the Hoedown in past years.
The Downtown Hoedown is returning to its roots in 2008. The music stages will be set up to their original configuration. The main stage will be located on the upper bowl of Hart Plaza and will feature mostly established national artists. The lower stage will be located in the lower bowl of Hart Plaza and will feature music from Nashville's new artists. The Hoedown has gotten so big that a third stage needed to be added. It will be located along the riverfront in front of the immigrants landmark. This stage will feature acoustic music and local bands.
The VIP section or Roadhouse as it was being called, has been removed. All seating at the Hoedown is FREE as it was meant to be. Get there early to get the best seats. Hart Plaza can fill up in a matter of just a few hours and if you get up, someone could take your spot. It is best to go with someone who can watch your seat if you decide to use the restroom or grab something to eat. In 2007, Hart Plaza had to close its doors for the first time because the place was so packed just before Josh Gracin performed.
Think you'll get hungry at the Hoedown? Boston Market and Arby's will have booths set up at the Downtown Hoedown where you can purchase select favorites from their regular menu. Not to mention all of the regular vendors that will be on site at the festival. There will be steaks, ribs, pizza, chicken, shish kabob, sandwiches, appetizers and desserts available for purchase.
The date of the festival was moved up one week due to the Academy of Country Music Awards broadcast, which is scheduled for May 18th on CBS. The Hoedown will be held on the second weekend of May from the 9th through the 11th. This will be the first time that the Hoedown is scheduled early, as it was always on the third weekend of May in past years.
A total of 22 national acts will perform at the Downtown Hoedown. On Friday, country music fans can see Westland's own Josh Gracin, pop/rock turned country singer Jewel, new country group Lady Antebellum, Rissi Palmer, American Idol finalist Phil Stacey, new country group Carter's Chord and Jason Michael Carroll. Rissi Palmer is the first African-American woman to chart a country song since 1987 and the first to perform at the Downtown Hoedown.
On Saturday, fans will see hitmaker Trisha Yearwood, country group Little Big Town, Chris Cagle, newcomer Emily West, canadian country band The Road Hammers, songwriter turned singer Lee Brice and Nashville newcomer Fisher Stevenson. On Sunday, country music lovers will see Gretchen Wilson, who's making her first appearance since 2004, hitmaker Billy Currington, Lonestar with Cody Collins on lead vocals, Nashville newcomer Ashton Shepherd, new country group Jypsi, country/rock group Whiskey Falls, newcomer Sarah Johns and Artie Dean Harris, who will make his second consecutive performance at the Hoedown.
Hours of the Downtown Hoedown are 1:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. for Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. for Saturday and 10:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Sunday. Local bands perform first each day. Nashville newcomers perform during the mid afternoon. Established national acts perform in the evening. (Click here to check the complete Schedule of Stars for the Hoedown. Click here to download and print a copy of the schedule that you can bring with you the festival.)
AmericaJR.com's Coverage of the Downtown Hoedown is presented by The Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites in Downtown Detroit. Register for your chance to win a suite-size room with a wet bar for Friday night at the Downtown Hoedown. It is located less than half of a mile from the festival. The hotel features complimentary high-speed internet, a hot breakfast, an indoor pool and a fitness center. (Click here to register for a FREE Hotel Room for the Hoedown.)
While at the Hoedown, we would like to encourage you to stop by one of the two "Gone Country" booths. They offer cowboy hats, belt buckles, hat pins, boots and spurs. There, you can register to win an autographed copy of Little Big Town's new album, A Place To Land. Two additional winners will receive unsigned copies of the album. Be sure to register to win at the Downtown Hoedown. In addition, we have a special coupon for fans to print out and bring with them to the festival. It entitles them to a FREE Hat Pin with any purchase at the "Gone Country" booth. (Click here to print the coupon.)
We'd also encourage you to pick up a copy of The Magazine of Country Music. It's a great little magazine that will keep you occupied during your downtime at the Hoedown. It features articles on all the Hoedown artists, a schedule of country music concerts around the area and fun features like crossword puzzles and This Day in History. Look for the AmericaJR.com advertisement. Our very own Hoedown Trivia will be featured in the magazine that you can get at the festival. (Click here to test your knowledge with Hoedown Trivia).
This year, we've added a new feature to our Hoedown coverage. Country music fans are encouraged to share their memories, experiences and thoughts about the festival in our new Hoedown Guestbook. Who was your favorite star that performed at the Hoedown? Who do you want to see at upcoming Hoedowns? (Click here to visit our all-new Hoedown Guestbook.)
Also new for 2008 is our full-color map of Hart Plaza. AmericaJR.com visitors will see the location of entrances and exits, music stages, retail vendors, food vendors and restroom facilities. We've also listed the names of retail vendors and some food vendors and their locations are noted on the map. (Click here to see our all-new map of Hart Plaza for the Hoedown.)
Will it be your first time at the Hoedown? Watch our exclusive Hoedown Video Preview and get acquainted with everything that you need to know before you go. We'll show you where the stages are located, where food vendors will be, what you should bring with you and give you the entire music schedule. (Click here to watch our Hoedown Video Preview.)
Want to learn more about the Hoedown artists? We've included a whole slew of information on the musicians that will be at the Hoedown this year in our Artist Profiles. You'll see the birthdates, birthplaces, latest albums, hit singles, group members and performance times for all the stars that are coming. (Click here to read our Hoedown Artist Profiles.)
Country music fans can help the poor by bringing a canned food item to the Hoedown and donating it at the Gleaner's truck at the entrance of Hart Plaza. Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan will be collecting nonperishable food items.
AmericaJR.com is not an official sponsor of the Hoedown. However, we are here to offer you the BEST possible coverage of the World's Largest FREE Country Music Concert. We'll be at Hart Plaza all weekend long conducting interviews, taking pictures and meeting you!
Join us for the 26th Annual Downtown Hoedown!! You'll be glad you did...
PHOTO BY JENNIFER VUONG / ©AMERICAJR.com
Jason Rzucidlo stands in the lower bowl of Hart Plaza. The VIP section has been removed -- all seating is FREE!
PHOTO BY JENNIFER VUONG / ©AMERICAJR.com
Jason Rzucidlo reports from the main entrance to Hart Plaza where country music fans will enter the festival. Retail vendors and food will be located on both sides of the main walkway.
Return to the Downtown Hoedown section.
Detroit's Downtown Hoedown is known as the World's Largest Free Country Concert. The event is held each year at Hart Plaza along Detroit's Beautiful Riverfront bordering Windsor, Ontario. It is a three-day event featuring music, dancing and fun for all ages. The music portion is filled with local bands, newcomers and established artists.
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