Ryan Previews Zac Brown Band Show

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Only nine days remain until the Zac Brown Band walks on stage at center field in Stambaugh Stadium, and JAC Live’s CEO Eric Ryan is busily preparing for what he’s calling an historic milestone in the city’s musical history.

“To our knowledge, there have never been this many people for a music event ever in the city of Youngstown’s history.”

Approximately 14,000 of the 18,000 tickets available are sold, Ryan says. Tickets are still available at all price points, ranging from $45.50 to $95.50.

His team has worked busily for the past two months to pave the way for the Grammy-winning country-western group. “Logistics are always the most important part of how these type of things come together,” he says.

The stage will be situated at the 50-yard line. Its size will rival that of set-ups at larger venues in bigger cities, Ryan says. “If you went to see Billy Joel in Cleveland two weeks ago, you saw the same stage that you’re going to see here at Youngstown.”

The Zac Brown Band added the show to their “Welcome Home” 2017 tour, which will stop next at the Gorge Amphitheatre in Quincy, Washington. “It was really a one-off date,” Ryan explains.

Formed in 2002, the band has released six albums and won three Grammys. The band’s 2016 “Black Out the Sun” tour broke attendance records at Boston’s Fenway Park and Camden’s BB&T Pavilion.

They were chosen after careful consideration, Ryan says. Country music is exceedingly popular in the Mahoning Valley. The band has also proven to have multi-generation appeal, something Ryan considered carefully. “Zac fit the bill,” he says.

The group will inaugurate the first annual Y Live event, which aims to bring the most popular musical groups to Youngstown – acts that need a larger venue than the Covelli Centre in order to be profitable. “We’ve wanted to do a show that we can’t do at the [Covelli] arena,” Ryan says “That’s when we came up with the idea of Y Live and doing the show here at YSU.”

The Covelli Centre can hold 7,000 patrons. Stambaugh can seat over 20,000, but the size of this year’s production necessitated a reduction in seating, Ryan says.

YSU is the title sponsor for the event. Huntington Bank, Eastwood Mall, Sweeney Chevrolet, the DeBartolo Corp. are presenting sponsors. “Without them and YSU, this wouldn’t even be possible,” Ryan says.

Tickets sales have met expectations, and Ryan plans on starting the booking process for 2018 immediately after next week’s show.

But with plenty of work left to do, he’s focused on making the inaugural show something to remember, he says. “We think that this event will truly make history. There’s no question about it.”

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.