Country Stars Lining Up for Rodeos and Festivals

Jackson, Strait, McEntire, McGraw Among Those Scheduling Appearances

The stars are making rodeos and country music festivals a prime destination in 2004. For die-hard country fans, these multi-day, multi-artist events are a dream come true.

Alan Jackson, George Strait, Reba McEntire and Brooks & Dunn are just a few of the superstars who are adding rodeo and festival shows to their usual tours of arenas, amphitheaters and state fairs. Tim McGraw has chosen a festival as the only concert date he has thus far announced in 2004 — an Aug. 6 appearance at WE Fest in Detroit Lakes, Minn.

The biggest single event will be the CMA Music Festival, a concert series previously known as Fan Fair. Set for June 10-13 in downtown Nashville, the festival will continue to emphasize the Fan Fair brand as an opportunity for fans to meet their favorite country stars. Coinciding with the CMA Music Festival is the Bonnaroo music festival in nearby Manchester, Tenn. Bonnaroo covers a wide range of musical styles, including alt-country. Artist lineups still haven’t been released for the CMA Music Festival or Bonnaroo.

Several of the rodeos have a rich heritage. In Wyoming, the history of Cheyenne Frontier Days dates back to 1897. Rodeo Houston — also known as the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo — was established in 1931. The San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo is enjoying its 55th anniversary.

Keeping in mind that artists generally perform only one day during each event, here’s a look at some of the rodeos and festivals, in alphabetical order, on tap this year:

Cheyenne Frontier Days (Cheyenne, Wyo., July 23-Aug. 1): Chris Cagle, Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, George Strait, Trick Pony, Keith Urban.

Chippewa Valley Country Fest 2004 (Cadott, Wis., June 24-27): Jessica Andrews, Rodney Atkins, Brooks & Dunn, Chris Cagle, Deana Carter, Kellie Coffey, Alan Jackson, Buddy Jewell, Willie Nelson, Joe Nichols, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Martina McBride, Montgomery Gentry, Rascal Flatts, LeAnn Rimes, Josh Turner, Keith Urban.

Country Jam (Grand Junction, Colo., June 24-27): Gary Allan, Blue County, Chris Cagle, Terri Clark, Emerson Drive, the Gatlin Brothers, Cledus T. Judd, Sammy Kershaw, Tracy Lawrence, Brian McComas, Reba McEntire, Brad Paisley, Sawyer Brown, Mark Wills.

Country Jam (Eau Claire, Wis., July 23-25): Dierks Bentley, Terri Clark, Blue County, Tracy Byrd, Cledus T. Judd, Tracy Lawrence, Lonestar, Patty Loveless, Brian McComas, Jo Dee Messina, Brad Paisley, George Strait, Trick Pony, Clay Walker, Mark Wills.

Country Stampede (Manhattan, Kan., June 24-27): Blue County, Terri Clark, Charlie Daniels, Pat Green, Joe Nichols, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Rascal Flatts, Rushlow, Clay Walker, Mark Wills, Darryl Worley.

Hodag Country Festival (Rhinelander, Wis., July 8-11): Asleep at the Wheel, Sherrié Austin, Dierks Bentley, Chris Cagle, Earl Thomas Conley, Vince Gill, Rebecca Lynn Howard, Neal McCoy, Ronnie Milsap, Joe Nichols, the Oak Ridge Boys, Mel Tillis, Pam Tillis, Mark Wills.

Jamboree in the Hills (Morristown, Ohio, July 15-18): Bering Strait, Billy Ray Cyrus, Charlie Daniels, Diamond Rio, Merle Haggard, Buddy Jewell, Chris LeDoux, Neal McCoy, Reba McEntire, Jo Dee Messina, Montgomery Gentry, the Oak Ridge Boys, Buck Owens, Randy Travis.

Rodeo Houston (Houston, March 2-21): Brooks & Dunn, Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, Martina McBride, Reba McEntire, Willie Nelson, George Strait, Randy Travis, Clay Walker, Wynonna. Multi-act shows include Vince Gill (with Amy Grant), Dwight Yoakam (with Buck Owens, Marty Stuart and Connie Smith), Robert Earl Keen (with Dierks Bentley).

San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo (San Antonio, Texas, Feb. 6-22): Alabama, Gary Allan, Brooks & Dunn, Jeff Foxworthy, Alan Jackson, Robert Earl Keen, Martina McBride, Lonestar, Neal McCoy, Montgomery Gentry, Willie Nelson, Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts, Clay Walker, Wynonna.

WE Fest (Detroit Lakes, Minn., Aug. 5-7): Trace Adkins, BlackHawk, Tracy Byrd, Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, Lorrie Morgan, George Strait, Sawyer Brown, Travis Tritt.

Winstock Country Music and Camping Festival (Winsted, Minn., June 4-5): Tracy Byrd, Carolyn Dawn Johnson, Montgomery Gentry, the Oak Ridge Boys, Sawyer Brown, Phil Vassar, Jimmy Wayne.

Calvin Gilbert has served as’s managing editor since 2002. His background includes stints at the Nashville Banner, Radio & Records and Westwood One.