Red Sky Report Card: What worked and what didn’t

Red Sky Music Festival wrapped up over the weekend and it went well.

A recent column discussed the need for Red Sky to figure itself out. Those criticisms (namely having one day off in the middle of the festival) still stand, but I wanted to explore what worked and what didn’t after attending the festival.

I’ve been asked a few times, “Was it better than last year?” Yes and no.

This year’s festival didn’t have the six-day runtime of last year, but there was that one-day gap. This year’s festival had the advantage of being partly over a weekend, but Saturday’s daytime crowd was tiny.

Headlining shows at TD Ameritrade Park packed in crowds, but that’s no surprise considering Rascal Flatts, Brad Paisley and Def Leppard are amazingly popular.

Paisley’s one of this year’s top 50 worldwide tours and Rascal Flatts is in the top 50 in North America, according to Pollstar. Together, they’ve combined to sell more than 670,000 tickets so far this year.

Daytime bands fit the festival well on the first and second day, but the third day was mostly full of cover bands and barely anyone showed.

Last year included a lot of bands I wanted to see (Buddy Guy, Zac Brown Band, George Clinton) and quite a few surprises (The Dirt Drifters). This year was mostly more consistent, but the lineup wasn’t very surprising.

Overall, I think the festival was successful and if they tie up a few of those loose ends, organizers will be well on their way to creating a very popular and lasting event.

The good

>> C.C. DeVille’s onstage cameo at the end of Brad Paisley’s set was cool.

>> Brad Paisley playing guitar is always a sight to see.

>> Lita Ford, Poison and Def Leppard all put on a much better show than I thought they would. They have more energy than artists half their ages.

>> While I wasn’t a giant fan of the bands, the booking of Logan Mize and The Farm leading into Rascal Flatts’ headlining concert was pitch perfect. It fit the day’s country vibe and was a good draw.

The bad

>> It was hot. Again. Like, really hot.

>> The audience loved them, but Rascal Flatts played almost the same show as when they played here a little more than one year ago. They did add some new songs, but it was mostly the same.

>> Saturday’s daytime attendance, which should have been high considering it was the weekend, was pretty bad considering it was a free event.

The ugly

>> Did I mention it was hot?

>> That missed day on Thursday kind of killed the festival’s momentum. What happened, Live Nation?

>> Cover bands are fine in general, but they still don’t have a place at a festival like this. You can see most of them anytime and several of them played the same songs. One band even played a Poison and Def Leppard song. In case you don’t know, it’s generally considered a faux pas to cover a song by a band you’re opening for.



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One Response to Red Sky Report Card: What worked and what didn’t

  1. Patricia says:

    I went to the Rascal Flatts concert on Wednesday night and it was fun overall. We had to wait 3 hours in 100 degrees weather to see them, and by the time they got on, I was too tired to get involved. It was a very underwhelming performance for me because I love this band and it was my first time seeing them live. I really hope that isn’t how they played for their tours! yikes!