With over a year in the making, Kenny Chesney’s Big Revival 2015 was a tour designed to get him back to the fans in a big way after spending 2014 focusing on music. When the Billboard Touring Awards were given out at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City, the eight-time Entertainer of the Year received his eighth Billboard Top Package Award.
“We put a lot of thought into every year’s tour,” Chesney said of the honor. “It’s not just about bringing the music out to the No Shoes Nation, though obviously that’s what this relationship has been built on. It’s about how to create an experience every year that stands out, that’s worth remembering, that gives people a chance to love life, love music and have fun.
“This many years in, it’s still a thrill to be recognized for this part of what we do.”
Chesney first won the honor for 2005’s Somewhere in the Sun Tour, which featured Gretchen Wilson, Uncle Kracker and Pat Green. His next six tours also swept the category, starting with 2006’s The Road and The Radio Tour with Dierks Bentley and others, 2007’s Flip Flop Summer Tour with Sugarland, Pat Green, Brooks & Dunn and Sara Evans, then 2008’s Poets & Pirates Tour had a rotating cast of Keith Urban, Brooks & Dunn, Sammy Hagar, Gary Allan, Luke Bryan and LeAnn Rimes, followed by 2009’s Sun City Carnival with Miranda Lambert, Lady Antebellum, Sugarland and Montgomery Gentry, 2011’s Goin’ Coastal with Zac Brown Band, Uncle Kracker and Billy Currington and finally 2012’s all-stadium Brothers of the Sun Tour with Tim McGraw, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals and Jake Owen.
“One of the best things about these tours, especially the stadium shows, is taking out artists who’re starting to make an impact and exposing them to a lot of people,” Chesney says. “It’s like turning your friends onto all kinds of bands – like when you’re young and music and sports is all that matters. Beyond people who’ve become headliners like Luke, Zac and Miranda, the No Shoes Nation got to see people beyond mainstream country, whether it was Grace (Potter), Texas’ Pat Green, (Uncle) Kracker or my buddy Sammy Hagar. Turning people on to great music is one of the coolest things, and it makes putting these packages together something that’s more than just a formula or who’s hot.”
Joining Chesney this year for his mostly stadiums, some arenas and a few amphitheaters Big Revival 2015 Tour were Jason Aldean, Eric Church, Jake Owen, Brantley Gilbert, Old Dominion, Cole Swindell and Chase Rice – as well as Miranda Lambert at Chicago’s Soldier Field, making for quite a package, indeed. Beyond the artists joining him, Chesney’s Big Revival also spawned four straight No. 1s, including the Grammy-nominated “American Kids,” “Til It’s Gone,” “Wild Child,” featuring Grace Potter and the three-week chart-topper, “Save It For A Rainy Day.”
Rolling Stone wrote The Big Revival, “continuously brings a sense of musical energy and emotional urgency…” and Billboard raved it “captures the zeitgeist of American youth in a way that John Mellencamp once owned.” The only country artist on Billboard’s Top 10 Touring Acts of the Last 25 Years worked hard to match that sentiment with his live show this year.
As The Big Revival 2015 picks up year end kudos, Chesney is already leaning into 2016. They’ve already announced a dozen of his Spread the Love Stadium dates — featuring Miranda Lambert, Sam Hunt and Old Dominion — with more expected shortly.