Headliners of 3rd Azalea Festival concert announced
Mar 01, 2013 (Star-News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
The 2013 N.C. Azalea Festival is adding an unprecedented third concert -- and would you believe it's hick-hop
The hip-hop/Southern rock duo The LACS will open for country rapper and fellow Georgian Colt FordApril 13 in an open-air venue on the campus of Cape Fear Community College, festival president-elect Steve Coble announced Friday.
Coble hailed Ford as the "walking, talking celebration of country music and country living." The former professional golfer, who wrote the hit "Dirt Road Anthem" for Jason Aldean, performed in Wilmington last year at the Brooklyn Arts Center.
Coble thanked CFCC for its new partnership with the festival. The college will also be the site of the festival's April 11 concert with Lynyrd Skynyrd and its April 12 concert with the Avett Brothers.
Tickets to the April 13 show will be $25, considerably less than for Skynyrd or the Avetts. VIP tickets, which come with preferred parking spaces and access to a VIP tent, will be available for $50, Coble said.
Tickets go on sale online at 9 a.m. Saturday at the festival's website. Starting Monday, they will also be available from the festival office (see box).
The concert choice seemed to underline the Azalea Festival's new slogan, "Southern Charm in Full Bloom."
An Athens, Ga., native, Ford has collaborated with an array of stars, from Darius Rucker and Tim McGraw to Wilmington's own Charlie Daniels. Although the plus-sized performer has had trouble penetrating some country stations' play lists, his videos have been in regular rotation on the CMT cable channel and he was a 2011 Country Music Award nominee.
Hailing from Baxley, Ga., The LACS consist of Clay "Uncle Snap" Sharpe and Brian "Rooster" King. The group's name is an acronym for "Loud Ass Crackers." The duo has released two LPs, "Country Boys' Paradise" and "100 Proof," through Backroad Records, a country-indie label co-owned by Colt Ford. Their videos "Kickin' Up Mud" and "Country Road" have nearly 10 million YouTube views between them. The group's sound switches between laid-back country and a bass-heavy, hard rap approach, with lyrics about partying and running four-wheel drive trucks through deep mud.
Asked about the shift in the festival's programming, Coble said, "We had a lot of success with the pop, 'American Idol'-type bands for a number of years, but we're trying to reach a changing demographic."
Each of the three shows will reach a very different audience, Coble added. Older, rock-oriented listeners are expected to attend the Skynyrd concert, while the Avett Brothers are thought to appeal to a more middle-aged segment, overlapping with fans of groups like Mumford & Sons. Ford and The LACS should reach a younger crowd.
"We don't just pick who we like," Coble said. "We have professional programmers who advise us on our choices, and they've been very successful."
Tickets are going fast for the other concerts, Coble said Friday. Only a few hundred Avett Brothers tickets are left, according to festival office manager Alison Baringer, and more than 2,500 Skynyrd tickets have been sold.
Ben Steelman: 343-2208
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