By MARJORIE BROWN
Do you know what you were doing on May 2, 2010? While you may have been preparing for high school graduation or making summer plans, Kennesaw State University was opening its Fifth Third Bank Stadium created to primarily host soccer games.
Fast forward four years later and the Fifth Third Bank Stadium, also known as the KSU Stadium, is now the location for concerts, festivals, and the upcoming KSU football games.
The 2014-2015 school year has been a busy one for the KSU stadium. The stadium started off the school year with a football scrimmage and Homecoming concert held by rapper Wiz Khalifa and moved on to the annual family Owl-ween festival. Event and Festival Coordinator at the KSU stadium Necie Lewis said the events brought in an estimated 40,000 people from all over the state and left a great impression on not only KSU students, but also non-KSU students.
“We’ve had people come in and tell us they transferred from their school or decided to come to KSU because they heard that we had a Wiz Khalifa concert or we had a hot air balloon festival,” said Lewis.
These two major events have all led up to a groundbreaking event that will not only impact KSU, but also Cobb County and the entire state. Lewis said that the events that the stadium have put on in the past motivated a promoter to reach out to the stadium to hold a brand new festival.
The inaugural Shaky Boots Festival will be a weekend long event at the KSU Stadium bringing in country music stars such as Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts and many more. This festival, scheduled for May 16 and May 17, will be the first major country music festival to be held in Georgia, bringing in an estimated 25,000 to 30,000 people each day from all over the world, said Lewis.
“We’re in the South and it’s the perfect place to have a country music festival,” said Lewis. “To see these sales coming from different states and even other countries is very exciting.”
Not only is this a big opportunity for KSU and the stadium, but the city of Kennesaw will be benefiting from this festival. National and international attendees will bring business to local hotels, businesses and restaurants as well as draw national attention to the Cobb County area said Lewis. This hopefully is just the start to many more events to come.
The stadium will be hosting the 2015 Major League Lacrosse Championship, the 2015 Rugby World Cup Qualifier and KSU’s very first football game in the upcoming year.
Marty Elliott, general manager of the Fifth Third Bank Stadium, said that the stadium would love to increase student attendance to its upcoming events. So far, the stadium has sold over 140,000 tickets to events and is predicting to sell over 100,000 tickets next school year for football alone, said Elliot.
“We always want to see a strong student and alumni turnout,” said Elliot in an email. “That demonstrates to promoters that we have a student population that will come out and support music and events.
“Our goals are to enhance quality of life for our community, engage students and provide guests with exceptional hospitality through intentional KSU branded experiences.”