Marty Stuart and Merle Haggard will bypass the big cities for smaller towns this summer when the Electric Barnyard tour kicks off July 6 in Sierra Vista, Ariz.
Stuart and Haggard announced their tour plans Monday (June 2) at Rowan Oak, the late author William Faulkner’s former estate in Oxford, Miss. Described as “a rolling country music festival that’s part tent show, part honky-tonk,” the Electric Barnyard tour will also feature BR549, Rhonda Vincent & the Rage, the Old Crow Medicine Show and Stuart’s wife, Grand Ole Opry star Connie Smith. Stuart will be backed by his new band, the Fabulous Superlatives, and Haggard will perform with the latest edition of his band, the Strangers.
Aimed primarily at rural areas, Stuart designed the 24-date tour as a throwback to multi-act country package shows that were a popular draw in the 1940s. The Electric Barnyard tour will hit 17 states before concluding Aug. 31 in Batavia, N.Y. Each of the outdoor concerts will feature food and games, along with an affordable ticket price — $25 in advance, $30 day of show. Gates for each show will open at 4 p.m., with music starting at 6 p.m.
Explaining that he returned to performing at older, smaller concert venues last year, Stuart said, “All of a sudden, here comes big crowds again, and we hadn’t had a record out in two or three years. More than that, I started seeing the heart and soul of America come forward. It wasn’t a big suburban setting. It was back in atmospheres like this [in Mississippi] where you’re close to nature, where country music sounded good to me again.”
The Electric Barnyard tour is sponsored by Waffle House, radio station WSM-AM/Nashville and CMT. Country Music, Stuart’s first album for Sony Music Nashville, is set for July 1 release. The project’s first single, “If There Ain’t There Oughta Be,” will be featured in jukeboxes at 1400 Waffle House restaurants in 26 states.
Smith, Vincent, the Old Crow Medicine Show and BR549 joined Stuart and Haggard in a brief performance segment during Monday’s press conference announcing the tour. Noting the 10 a.m. time, Haggard said, “I’ve never sang this early in the morning before, Marty.” Stuart shot back, “But you haven’t been to bed in 30 years.”
July 6 — Sierra Vista, Ariz. at City Park
July 8 — San Bernardino, Calif. at National Orange Showgrounds
July 10 — Tulare, Calif. at Tulare County Fairgrounds
July 11 — Dixon, Calif. at Dixon County Fairgrounds
July 12 — Klamath Falls, Ore. at Chalk Rocs Amphitheatre
July 14 — Walla Walla, Wash. at Walla Walla County Fairgrounds
July 18 — Hutchinson, Kan. at Hutchinson Fairgrounds
July 19 — Tama, Iowa at Meskwaki Hotel Grounds
July 20 — Peoria, Ill. at Peoria Civic Center
Aug. 14 — Rome, Ga. at Coosa Valley Fairgrounds
Aug. 15 — Detroit, Mich.
Aug. 16 — Brooksville, Ky. at Foots Club Grounds
Aug. 17 — Lynchburg, Va. at Plaza Mall
Aug. 19 — Tuscumbia, Ala. at Alabama Hall of Fame
Aug. 21 — Marshall, Mo. at Saline Co. Fairgrounds
Aug. 22 — Springfield, Ill. at Springfield State Fairgrounds
Aug. 23 — Memphis, Tenn.
Aug. 24 — Medina, Ohio at Medinah Co. Fairgrounds
Aug. 26 — Bean Blossom, Ind. at Brown Co. Jamboree Pk.
Aug. 28 — Saginaw, Mich. at Fairgrounds-Saginaw
Aug. 29 — Jackson, Mich.
Aug. 31 — Batavia, N.Y. at Genesee Co. Fairgrounds