CHEYENNE – Out of all of the Cheyenne Frontier Days night show acts this year, Kenny Chesney has been on stage in Frontier Park Arena the most.
While other acts – such as Florida Georgia Line, KISS and Jake Owen – have made prior appearances at CFD, this year will only mark their second appearance each.
This is Chesney’s fourth time performing at CFD. His first time to the 10-day-long extravaganza was in 2002, along with performers such as Huey Lewis and the News and Travis Tritt. His last appearance was seven years ago, when he shared the stage in the same year with then-newcomer Jake Owen, country legend George Strait and then-country singer Taylor Swift.
Although Chesney has played at CFD multiple times, he’s nowhere near the most repeated night show act. That title goes to The Charlie Daniels Band, which is best known for its single “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” released in 1979.
The Charlie Daniels Band has played CFD a whopping 10 times, with its first appearance being in 1979 and its most recent show in 2011. It also has the distinction of being asked back five years in a row, which no other artist has seemed to achieve so far at CFD.
But having acts return year after year is much more unlikely nowadays, CFD Contract Acts Committee chairman Scott Fleming said.
“We don’t look to bring them back to back anymore, but we do look to see what they’re doing and how big they are right now,” he said.
These days, the Contract Acts Committee is working to put at least a couple of years in between the returning performances. There are some artists, such as Garth Brooks and Jason Aldean, that they “would love” to bring back, but they want to make sure the timing is right.
“There’s no one we would want to bring back year after year anymore, just because we want to offer that variety for our fans,” Fleming said.
He attributed the multiple returns by Daniels and other artists to being an act that people always want to see. For example, he listed George Strait and Reba McEntire as being consistently popular acts at CFD. The two country legends have made the most appearances besides Daniels, both with eight CFDs under their belt.
Fleming said the Contract Acts Committee tries to bring in artists who are at the height of their popularity and can bring in a crowd. If a performer is looking to release an album during that particular year, it also helps with the selection process.
The committee also likes to look at up-and-coming performers who have the potential to be headliners soon, like Jake Owen. In 2009, Owen appeared at CFD as an opener, but he returned this year as a headliner. Fleming said Owen’s opening act, Old Dominion, definitely has the potential to return as a headliner.
Surveying concertgoers is another key part of the concert planning, Fleming said. From what CFD officials have been told by fans, they definitely want a classic rock and a country act.
Knowing the returning performer has an all-new stage show, as Chesney does this year, is appealing to the committee. Scheduling on the artists’ end, obviously, is a factor in the shows, too, since some performers take the entire summer off from touring or might not be planning to be in this area.
He added the committee tries to plan out the concerts about three years in advance, but ideas for performers might change in that time, depending on how popular they are.
“We have such a great reputation for our musical acts at Cheyenne Frontier Days, and we’re trying to keep our options open,” he said. “We try to stay on top of that.”
If You Go
What: Country artist Kenny Chesney will perform at Cheyenne Frontier Days, joined by singer Courtney Cole
When: 8 o’clock tonight
Where: Frontier Park Arena, 4610 Carey Ave.
Cost: Tickets are $69, or $99 for a fast pass.
Phone: 800-227-6336 or 307-778-7222
Most frequent CFD performers
Artists who have appeared the most times at Cheyenne Frontier Days are:
The Charlie Daniels Band: 10 times (1979-1983, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2011)
George Strait: Eight times (1988-1990, 1993-1994, 1996, 2004, 2009)
Reba McEntire: Eight times (1985, 1989-1990, 1992, 1999-2000, 2007, 2012)
Alan Jackson: Seven times (1992, 1994-1995, 1998, 2003, 2010, 2013)
Randy Travis: Seven times (1987-1988, 1990, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004)
Brooks & Dunn: Six times (1993-1994, 1996, 1999, 2001, 2010)
The Oak Ridge Boys: Six times (1981, 1983, 1985, 1987, 1991, 1997)
Toby Keith: Six times (1997, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2013, 2015)
Clay Walker: Five times (1994-1995, 1998, 2001, 2010)
Chris LeDoux: Five times (1993, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003)