SMG in the News: Country Superfest at EverBank Field

Originally published at Jacksonville.com
By David Bauerlein

One of country music’s biggest festivals will plug into EverBank Field next June, an event that tourism officials compared to the Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl for filling hotel rooms.

The inaugural Florida Country Superfest will be June 14 and 15, officials announced Thursday.

The Duval County Tourism Development Council previously approved providing up to $200,000 from hotel bed taxes to support the festival. Organizers told the council the event would generate attendance of 70,000.

“It’s going to be a phenomenal show, and we’re counting on big, big things from Country Fest and its promoters,” City Councilman Richard Clark, who sits on the tourism development council, said Thursday.

Festival Productions Inc.-New Orleans teamed up with SMG, which manages EverBank Field, to come up with Florida Country SuperFest.

Festival Productions Inc. stages the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Bayou Country Superfest in Baton Rouge, La.

Florida Country Superfest will be modeled after Bayou Country SuperFest, which takes place annually over the course of a weekend at Louisiana State University’s Tiger Stadium. The May 2013 show’s lineup included Lady Antebellum, Zac Brown Band, Luke Bryan and Miranda Lambert.

The acts at the Jacksonville festival will be announced next month and tickets will go on sale Nov. 21.

The Baton Rouge festival draws fans from 47 states, according to Festival Productions Inc.

“It’s a significant impact,” said Paul Arrigo, president and CEO of Visit Baton Rouge. “It’s sort of like a Florida-LSU football game.”

Visit Jacksonville CEO Paul Astleford said with Thursday’s official announcement in hand, local officials will seek state support so promotion of the festival can “reach out to the nation.”

“This is going to do a huge amount for the state and Jacksonville,” he said.