Exclusive: Bob Romeo On Sold-Out 50th Anniversary ACM Awards

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ACM CEO Bob Romeo

The Academy of Country Music sold out two of the nation’s largest stadiums today (April 15), selling 70,000 tickets in 18 minutes for the ACM Awards’ 50th Anniversary show, and the ACM Party For A Cause: 50 Years of Music & Memories.

The 50th Anniversary show will take place at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Sunday, April 19, 2015 and air live on CBS. The ACM Party For A Cause: 50 Years of Music & Memories will take place April 17-18 at Globe Life Park, home of the Texas Rangers, also in Arlington.

MusicRow spoke with ACM CEO Bob Romeo about the fastest-selling event in the Academy’s history. “For the pre-sale, we had 55,000 people hit within the first few minutes. We knew by the time we got to the public on-sale, that it would sell out even faster. We sold out all of the hotels we had on hold today, and we will put more hotels on hold for fans.”

Accommodating the fans: “We are asking fans to sign up on the A-list database, because I’m sure when we get into it, we’ll have some production seats killed that we’ll be able to release. We are also batting around some ideas; we’re thinking about creating a Sunday tailgate-type party, and in one of the end zones we’re going to do the all-star jam, which is our awards show after-party. There is a second outdoor end zone area in the stadium, so we might do an outside viewing party for the awards show. My fear is that there are a lot of fans, in Texas specifically, that didn’t get a chance to buy tickets, so we’re going to sit down as a team and figure out some options to create some more events to take care of the fans who might not have had a chance to purchase tickets.”

Artist Logistics: “Obviously, a lot of people loved being in one hotel at the MGM Grand [in Las Vegas], and people could literally walk to rehearsals. In Arlington, there will be some pluses. As someone who has been on the road a lot with artists, I know a lot of the artists really love to have their buses there, which was not possible at MGM, because we don’t have enough parking for buses. The Cowboys [organization] helped us create a bus compound, so we’ll be able to house 100 of the artists’ buses in a secure lot. Close to the lot, there is a door which leads to an elevator and directly down to the stage level.

“To some degree, it will be as convenient, if not more convenient, for artists that want to house out of their buses. I’m sure for rehearsals on Saturday and for dress [rehearsals] on Sunday, most of the artists will stay on the buses and we’ll pull talent out of the buses. I think from that aspect, it will work really great.”

Awards Show Logistics and remote performances: “Within the stadium, we will have two stages, each about the size of the MGM Grand Garden Arena stage, with fan pits. Since we’ve sold out so fast, there could be an outside chance that we would offer some outdoor space for a viewing area and do a remote from there. We haven’t addressed that yet as it just sold out today, but as we get our team together we will talk about more opportunities for the fans to take part in what we’re doing.”

Nashville Town Hall:  “We plan on having a town hall [meeting] in Nashville for the industry so we can show them the stage diagram, and where the bus parking is, and the logistics. I think once they see that, it will become as convenient as what MGM is. My board has seen some of the conceptual drawings, but the industry hasn’t, and I think when they see it, they will be amazed at how it looks.”

Return To Las Vegas in 2016: “We are not 100 percent sure, but the hope is that when we come back to Las Vegas in 2016, MGM Resorts will have a new arena. We hope to be the first event to open up that arena. If that happens, we’ll take the ACM Fan Jam that was in Mandalay Bay, and we’ll move that to the Grand Garden Arena. Between those two spaces, we hope to take care of about 30,000 fans for the awards show.

“This year we moved the ACM Party For A Cause to the LINQ in Las Vegas. The plan is to come back to Vegas and to supersize that event, because that lot will hold 40,000-50,000 people. When we come back to Vegas, we’re hoping to bring a lot of our friends from Texas, and they’ll be able to come to the festival, and we’ll be able to take care of about an additional 10,000 people for the awards show, between the venue and making MGM our remote.”

Summing up the event, Romeo stated, “I can’t think of a better place for the awards show than at the AT&T Stadium. No matter where you are seated, because of that huge screen, they’ll have an unbelievable experience.

“As we get to planning the show, there will be a lot of special moments in it. We’ve had a lot of acts already indicating they want to participate. Now we have a chance to focus on being creative and making the 50th anniversary ACM Awards show something special.”

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About the Author

Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at jnicholson@musicrow.com.

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