Like a chef preparing comfort food or a movie director doing a remake, Red Sky Music Festival is bringing back the familiar.
On Monday, the music festival announced Rascal Flatts, Brad Paisley and Def Leppard as three of its headliners. All have performed at the CenturyLink Center Omaha in recent years — Flatts in 2011, Paisley in 2009 and Leppard in 2008.
The festival, in its second year, will take place July 18 to 21 at TD Ameritrade Park. The Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority and Live Nation, festival organizers, haven't yet announced a headliner for the night of July 19 or any acts to perform at daytime stages.
MECA, which operates the ballpark and arena, launched the festival in 2011 as another way to use the stadium that was built primarily for the College World Series. The festival debuted during a hot July week and featured dozens of bands, including headliners Journey, 311, Zac Brown Band, Kid Rock and Jason Aldean.
The announcement of a new multiday festival generated excitement. The fledgling event had a few glitches — they changed the dates, announced acts piecemeal instead of revealing the whole lineup and had sparse crowds for some daytime concerts.
The entire festival, however, drew 80,000 fans.
Red Sky also has had a few stumbles this year.
A press agent announced Paisley's Red Sky date back in March, before MECA was ready to reveal a lineup. Then announcements for the remaining acts were delayed for more than a month and organizers cut the event to four days from the originally announced six with relatively little notice to fans.
Organizers remain enthusiastic and promised more announcements in the coming weeks.
“We're excited for the announcement today,” said Roger A. Dixon, president of MECA. “We continue to work diligently with Live Nation.” Live Nation officials were unavailable for comment.
This year's lineup is popular in Omaha. Rascal Flatts sold more than 10,000 tickets at its most recent concert here, and the three headliners have played the CenturyLink Center to sizable audiences a combined nine times. TD Ameritrade Park can hold up to 18,000 for a concert.
Reaction to Monday's lineup announcement on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter is wide-ranging, but much of it has been negative — “This is already looking terrible” one person said on Facebook; another simply said “Embarrassing.”
Carmen Steele, 43, is excited about the lineup and, after having a good time in 2011, plans to attend the festival again.
“As a country fan and a child of the '80s, I'm happy about it,” she said. “But (I) hope they'll bring in good bands for the other stages, too.”
Steele has seen all of the headliners in concert, including a Def Leppard show about 25 years ago. She acknowledged that Red Sky has booked a lot of country and heritage rock acts, and said some current bands would help the lineup, but she was still excited.
“I like all music, so I'll be happy with probably anything,” she said.
Tickets to Red Sky go on sale Friday at ticketmaster.com, the CenturyLink Center box office, Ticketmaster retail outlets or by phone at 800-745-3000.
Paisley tickets go on sale at 10 a.m., Rascal Flatts tickets at 11 a.m. and Def Leppard tickets at noon.
Ticket packages will be available for all three concerts for $99 for four tickets.
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