WALL STREET JOURNAL – Jamey Johnson “Country Throwdown Tour”
COUNTRY THROWDOWN TOUR
What does country music have in common with punk rock? Not much. That is, until this spring, when the producer of the most consistent vehicle for blaring teen angst—the Vans Warped Tour, a 15-year-old traveling festival that features dozens of acts at a time and has helped launch such bands as My Chemical Romance—applies a similar formula to Nashville twang. Country acts including Montgomery Gentry, Jamey Johnson, Little Big Town, Eric Church, and the Eli Young Band headline the inaugural Throwdown Tour, which is expected to visit outdoor amphitheaters in 23 cities around the country. Off the main stage, the tour will also include nine singer-songwriters in a tent named for Nashville's famed Bluebird Café.
In the unpredictable business of music festivals, Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman, once a stage manager of Lollapalooza, hit on a surprisingly stable blueprint. His model relies on plentiful sponsorships, affordable tickets and rosters of hungry emerging acts. Last summer, the Warped Tour drew more that 600,000 concertgoers across 46 markets.