Zac Brown Band to be initial concert in Stambaugh Stadium

Tribune Chronicle / Andy Gray The scoreboard at Stambaugh Stadium at YSU was used to reveal the headline act at the inaugural Y Live concert there. The Zac Brown Band, a country music act, has won three Grammy Awards and has released six studio albums.

YOUNGSTOWN — A Zac Brown Band performance announced Friday for Stambaugh Stadium is being billed not just as a concert but as a celebration of the area’s renaissance.

Co-promoters Eric Ryan, founder and CEO of JAC Management and JAC Live, and Ed Muransky, president and CEO of the Muransky Companies and Southwoods Health, said a concert there has been talked about for three years, but the actual event came together in the last five or six weeks.

“Why can’t we have a stadium show in Youngstown,” Ryan said. “If you stand on the 50-yard line and look up, tell me there is a better place for 21,000 to see a concert. The farthest seat away is an absolutely fantastic seat.”

The stage will be set up facing the home stands with seating for about 16,000 there and an additional 5,000 on the field.

Muransky said they put in bids last year on several acts they thought could fill the venue, but none were accepted. He believes what turned the tide was Ryan’s decision to fly in Keith Urban’s agent from Creative Artists (which represents many of the top names in country music, including Brown) to Youngstown to attend the country star’s concert in November at the Covelli Centre.

“We took him to downtown Youngstown and we took him to Youngstown State University (and the stadium),” Muransky said, and the agent came away convinced a concert could work there. “He believed in Eric and the team to dive off that bridge.”

The Zac Brown Band has won three Grammy Awards and six awards from the various country music groups since the release of multi-platinum-selling “The Foundation” in 2008. Brown played concerts this month at Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls and KeyBank Pavilion in Burgettstown, Pa. Neither Ryan nor Muransky said they were worried about Brown playing two shows so close to Youngstown or only having about 60 days to sell tickets, a shorter time frame than most concerts of this scale.

“We think he is the type of artist that people absolutely follow and love, and he has a dedicated fan base,” Ryan said. “And it’s not just about the artist, it’s also about the event, the Mahoning Valley and our renaissance … It’s an affordable celebration of our community.”

William Shivers of Huntington Bank, one of the presenting sponsors, said, “You’re not chosen to be the best, you choose to be the best, and in Youngstown we’re seeing a resurgence. We’re coming back.”

The other presenting sponsors are the DeBartolo Corporation, Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC and Eastwood Mall for the concert, and Briarfield Healthcare Centers is the presenting sponsor for a planned VIP pre-party that will raise money for the United Way.

The concert coincides with the start of the fall semester at YSU. Some university lots will be reserved for concert parking, including a designated lot for tailgate parties, and concertgoers also will be able to park at the Covelli Centre and be shuttled to the stadium.

Ryan said YSU President Jim Tressel and all of the staff there have been supportive in making the event possible.

“We realize it may inconvenience some people,” Ryan said. “We’ve put together a plan that will be second to none. Will it be perfect? I hope so … We need it to be seamless. This is not a one-year event. This event hopefully will go on forever.”

If you go …

WHAT: Y Live — Zac Brown Band

WHEN: 7 p.m. Aug. 24

WHERE: Stambaugh Stadium, 577 Fifth Ave., Youngstown

HOW MUCH: $95.50, $81.50, $75.50, $65.50, $55.50 and $45.50. Tickets go on sale 10 a.m. June 24 at the Southwoods Health Box Office at the Covelli Centre and through Ticketmaster.