Three years ago, Luke Bryan was a promising down-bill opening act. This summer he'll join the touring elite with three stadium dates planned as part of his That's My Kinda Night Tour.
The country music star during a Tuesday morning news conference announced the stadium shows in Pittsburgh in June and Philadelphia and Chicago in August. Bryan said he's stepping everything up as he heads into just his second headlining tour of about 80 dates.
"My main thing is more lights, more speakers, more video, more camera guys, more things to make it a very special, interactive experience with the fans," Bryan said.
Bryan has invited Dierks Bentley to join him as a special guest for two of the stadium dates. Lee Brice and Cole Swindell will be openers on the full tour.
Very few acts have the power to sell out stadiums — usually older rock 'n' roll acts who've built their touring fan base up over decades. Bryan is joining a growing number of country acts with sales large enough to fill stadiums in the right markets. Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw wrapped a successful stadium tour two summers ago and Chesney usually hits a few each year.
Taylor Swift has been selling out stadiums around the world recently. And Bryan's good friend, Jason Aldean, played his first stadiums last year — with Bryan serving as his opening act at Sanford Stadium at the University of Georgia — and just announced a tour of Major League Baseball parks.
Pollstar editor-in-chief Gary Bongiovanni says Bryan is following a path already laid down by those artists.
"He is following the same successful model used by other rising country artists," Bongiovanni said. "That means mixing in a handful of stadium dates in your strongest markets during an arena tour. Jason Aldean, Taylor Swift, Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney all did it that way."