The famous philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said about music, “Without music, life would be a mistake.”
Now, why that may be a bit extreme – as Nietzsche tended to be – I can’t argue with that statement. Music has the unique power to transform a person’s day from gloomy to happy, makes movies more suspenseful and heartfelt, transcends time and brings people together.
I may be waxing a bit poetic here – and it may be odd to lead off a column about rodeo with a reference to a German philosopher who’s been dead for 112 years – but my point is that music is a magical thing like no other. It’s beauty is immense, and its ability to inspire and bring joy to people of all walks of life is impressive, to say the least.
For the Western industry and the world of rodeo, country music is a sacred thing, another piece of the fabric of a life passed down from generation to generation. It helps tell the story of the West, communicate the Western way of life’s ideals and link people together through song.
Who hasn’t been moved by the music of Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Chris LeDoux or George Strait?
At the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, music plays a big role in the event’s atmosphere. A different country music artist performs as part of the opening festivities each night, and music is played throughout the two-hour rodeo as the best in ProRodeo battle for gold buckles.
There are free concerts at the Cox Pavilion after the rodeo, and a number of country music stars play to sold-out concerts at casinos throughout Las Vegas each night the rodeo is in town. Music helps pull everything together and helps provide 17,000 screaming fans with motivation to come back again the next night.
Country music fans will have dozens of ways to get their fixes in Las Vegas during this year’s Wrangler NFR, including a host of shows at the inaugural Cowboy Fanfest, which will call the Las Vegas Convention Center its home. A fully interactive area for fans to get a taste of the best of the Western lifestyle, Cowboy Fanfest will feature music acts on its Rodeo Live Stage.
The Academy of Country Music (ACM) will host musical performances at the Wrangler NFR for the seventh consecutive year this December, and ACM has chosen Cowboy Fanfest’s Rodeo Live Stage as the locale. Open to the public with free admission, the performances will include up-and-coming music acts such as Ryan Beaver, Jack Ingram, Aaron Watson and Chris Young.
Just like Cowboy Christmas next door, Fanfest will open its doors at 10 a.m. each day, with the ACM-sponsored performances taking place at 1:30 and 4 p.m. Other music artists expected to perform are: Bucky Covington, Sarah Darling, Brett Eldredge, Chris Janson and David Nail.
The ACM lineup is just another way Wrangler NFR fans are served and entertained by the rodeo’s organizers, who work hard to make it a one-of-a-kind experience for all who come to Las Vegas wearing cowboy boots, Wrangler jeans and Resistols.
“The Academy is pleased to continue our partnership with NFR and excited to bring some of country music’s top talent like Chris Young and new artists like Chris Janson to the fans at the inaugural Cowboy Fanfest,” Michelle Goble, SVP, Membership and Industry Relations, Academy of Country Music, said in a press release announcing the series.
Combined with the seemingly endless list of other concerts taking place during the Wrangler NFR’s run from Dec. 6-15, ACM’s performances give country music fans more options than they can shake a stick at in Las Vegas. Rodeo fans can warm up for the nightly Wrangler NFR performances with some country music, take in the rodeo and then head out for another concert – many of them free – around town after the performance concludes.
Sounds like a good day.
*For specific performance dates and times and a complete list of entertainers, log on to nfrexperience.com.