George Strait Tour With Alan Jackson Opens March 24

George Strait will launch his fourth annual multi-star tour March 24 at the 65,000 seat Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. Appearing with Strait on the 16-city tour, which concludes June 10 in San Antonio, Texas, are Alan Jackson, Lee Ann Womack, Lonestar, Brad Paisley, Sara Evans and Asleep at the Wheel.

Womack and Asleep at the Wheel are the only returnees from last year’s 10-date tour, which also co-starred Tim McGraw, Martina McBride, Kenny Chesney and Mark Chesnutt. In addition, that tour marked the public debut of young Billy Gilman, who introduced his “One Voice” single on the Wheel’s segment of the show. And it was at the tour’s stop in Buffalo, N.Y., that McGraw and Chesney had their still-unresolved encounter with the law.

The 2001 event is being billed as the George Strait Chevy Truck Country Music Festival. Additional tour sponsors are GM Card, Jack Daniel’s, Pemmican Beef Jerky, Wrangler, Justin Boots and Resistol Hats. Last year, Nokia, the mobile telephone giant, was a major sponsor.

Strait’s headlining power — along with his unerring choice of support acts — has made this event a top ticket-seller each year. So far, according to Strait’s publicist, the tour has sold more than 2.5 million tickets worth more than $90 million. Average attendance per date has been 45,000.

The addition of Alan Jackson to the bill this year will draw power from last year’s Strait-Jackson hit duet, “Murder on Music Row,” which won the Country Music Association’s vocal event of the year award. At last year’s tour stop in Nashville, Jackson joined Strait onstage to sing the surprise hit, which excoriates the move toward modernism in country music.

A second stage will feature BR5-49 and other talent to be announced later.

Jackson begins a short headlining tour of his own Jan. 30 in Albany, N.Y., with Womack and Evans on the bill.

George Strait Chevy Truck Country Music Festival tour locations and dates.

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to