You know Iowa — it’s the state that we think about once every four years during presidential primaries. But the state is making a name for itself in something else.
That something else is country music, including visits from Garth Brooks, Miranda Lambert, Jason Aldean, and Dolly Parton. The country music scene in the state is rapidly growing.
In Iowa City, there’s a concert held at Kinnick Stadium — it’s called the Back Porch Revival and it’s a deal. This year’s headliner is Blake Shelton, supported by Big & Rich, Thomas Rhett, and others. The event organizers plan to seat 50,000 fans, according to The Des Moines Register. It’s just more evidence that huge country music events are flooding Iowa.
The concert could even get the attention of country music power brokers, said Gil Cunningham, the man in charge of Neste Event Marketing, a company that books major country shows throughout the US.
“This show is going to put the spotlight on the state of Iowa,” Cunningham told The Des Moines Register.
It sure has. But wait, this isn’t even the biggest country concert that’s happened in Iowa. Between April 29 and May 2, 2016, Brooks played six sold-out shows in a row, all at Wells Fargo Arena. The attendance between these shows totalled about 90,000.
So, we can see, Iowa’s country music scene is growing quickly. But why?
Cunningham said this is because of the young people. They’re jumping on the wagon so much the wagon’s axles are bowing. Country radio is the second most listened to format among 18 to 34-year-olds in 2015, according to Nielson. In Iowa, more than 45 country stations are pumped over Iowa radio, whereas just 10 stations are dedicated to pop music.
“For the longest time, the country demographic was an old demographic,” Cunningham told The Des Moine Register. “Country has started to appeal to (younger people): high school kids; college kids — they’ve really embraced that genre.”