Luke Bryan Concert at Stambaugh Stadium Is Canceled

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The May 30 concert by country superstar Luke Bryan at Stambaugh Stadium has been canceled because of the pandemic-related limitations on venue capacity.

The annual Y Live concert – presented each year at Youngstown State University’s stadium – was initially scheduled for June 2020. With the pandemic taking hold last spring, JAC Live, the promoter, rescheduled the concert to May 30 of this year.

The decision to cancel was announced Tuesday.

In the coming days, all tickets and parking passes purchased will be automatically refunded via the original method of purchase – mainly Ticketmaster.com, according to JAC Live President Eric Ryan. Refund transactions should be complete within 30 days, according to the Ticketmaster website.

Although the concert was to take place outdoors, the need to keep patrons socially distant under the ongoing state-mandated restrictions would still limit the attendance of the event to an unprofitable level, Ryan said.

“We hoped the restrictions would be lifted in time to bring our community Y-Live 2021, but sadly they have not,” Ryan said. “We want to thank all the fans, sponsors and partners of Y-Live that make it the single best attended annual event our city has to offer. Currently, without a clear date as to when we can operate without restrictions, we feel our best option is to cancel. But please rest assured, once these restrictions are lifted, Y Live will be back.”

Past Y Live concerts featured the Zac Brown Band, Florida Georgia Line and Blake Shelton. The past two concerts sold out the venue, which holds 20,000 for concerts, and the Luke Bryan show would definitely have been another sellout, Ryan said.

Luke Bryan is currently at the top of the country pop world. The superstar artist was named Entertainer of the Year at Sunday evening’s Academy of Country Music Awards ceremony.

Coming just days before JAC was forced to cancel, that honor was like “salt in the wound,” Ryan said.

While the promoter said being forced to cancel was deflating, he is holding out hope that Gov. Mike DeWine will lift restrictions at some point this summer and the concert can be rescheduled at Stambaugh Stadium before the end of the year.

“To have a show that was going to do 20,000 fans, and be the third-straight sellout of the biggest event we do all year and have to cancel it two years in a row, is just ….,” said an obviously frustrated Ryan, his words trailing off to silence.

The decision came down to the fact that the seating capacity is insufficient, he said.

“We have to be at full capacity,” Ryan said. “We held on as long as we could. Everybody speculates as to when the restrictions will be lifted, but nobody knows. We’ve been holding on to these ticket sales for over a year, and it felt like because we don’t yet have a clear date for reopening, the best thing to do is cancel it. If the governor makes an announcement in the near future, maybe we can work with YSU and get a date and get the concert back on the books. Luke Bryan’s camp still wants to play a date here.”

While the state last week lifted its percentage-based capacity limits for fixed-seat venues, social distancing rules are still in place. Attendees are permitted to arrive in groups of up to 10, but six feet of distance must be maintained on all sides between the groups.

Ryan said that JAC Live will soon announce a series of concerts at the Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre this summer. The downtown outdoor facility can hold about 1,500 with social distancing.

“We have the shows confirmed but we have been waiting to announce them,” Ryan said.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.