Now’s that time of year again, Houston, time for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. At the beginning of every year, most Houstonians wait eagerly in anticipation for the lineup of the rodeo that comes in March. Whether you’ve just moved here last month, or have lived here all your life, you’ve heard about the Houston rodeo one way or another. After coming off of a rocky year as last year with our ups and downs (downs being Hurricane Harvey, ups being winning the World Series) starting off the year excited to live in Houston is a great feeling.
With every rodeo line up, there is expected to be hundreds of comments and opinions. This year has especially been the year of complaints. Last week’s post of the lineup on the official Rodeo Houston Instagram has around 350 comments, most people are chiming in with their opinions and most people aren’t happy.
The big artist everyone has of course been wanting to see is Garth Brooks. After a change of date of ticket ordering and sitting in waiting rooms for hours, many didn’t get too lucky with tickets. Although he’s coming two nights, tickets were tough to come by. Many eager fans were disappointed in not getting their hands on tickets to either of his shows. While some fans were upset they probably won’t get a chance to see him, others were more upset with the rest of the lineup. It seems the rodeo wasted most of their budget on booking him for two nights instead of putting time and effort into the rest of the line up. There’s nothing too exciting about the rest.
It seems like year after year the rodeo recycles the country performers. The certain nights such as pop, rock, Black Heritage, and Go Tejano Day are guaranteed to be different every year. Half of this year’s country lineup were on last year’s lineup. Many people are calling for different acts and more of a variety.
You’ve got your classics such as Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, Jason Aldean, and Blake Shelton, but many people are complaining about there being too much of pop country artists. Then you have your constants, I’m looking at you Luke Bryan. For the past seven years everyone is certain he’s going to show up on the lineup eventually. For fans, such as myself, it’s nice especially considering for the past seven years I’ve tried unsuccessfully to attend one of his shows even though I’ve had tickets to a few of them and it eventually just didn’t work out. For the general public, also including myself, it gets boring.
It gets especially boring when you see the same men every year. This year we have one solo country woman artist? And many are criticizing the rodeo’s choice of her, Kelsea Ballerini, since she’s too much pop country than actual country. If you include the pop night, Alessia Cara and Little Big Town which have two women performers, that’s four women out of twenty acts? Come on, what happened to Reba, The Band Perry, or Miranda Lambert? Wasn’t this supposed to be the year of women inclusion? If so, someone needs to notify rodeo officials that country music is more than just men and their guitars on stage. Well, I guess this year’s one solo artist is more of an improvement considering last year we had no women country stars.
Last year for Black Heritage Day most were happy with Alicia Keys. This year we have a male performer named Leon Bridges, the first time I heard of him was last year when he performed at the free Super Bowl Live event. Quite an upgrade, from performing at a free admissions event to the Houston Rodeo, don’t you think? A lot of people are complaining again with this decision for Black Heritage Day, he’s an unknown artist to most. Many people are outraged seen as we have had very well known performers for Black Heritage Day in the past such as Alicia Keys (2017), Jason Derulo (2016), John Legend (2015), and Usher (2014).
Things that many people missed out this year was the usual rock performers. Over the last few years, rock performers included Blink 182 and ZZ Top (2017), Kid Rock (2016), Fall Out Boy (2015), and REO Speedwagon (2014) to name a few. Not to mention the famous ZZ Top performing six times in rodeo history. The only artist that I can think of would be kind of considered rock would be OneRepublic, but even then they’re described as pop rock.
Another issue the public is having is not with the lineup, but rather with getting the tickets. A few years ago the rodeo switched to buying tickets online the day they go on sale by being put in an online waiting room. Many argue that the system is flawed and there needs to be a better way of going about getting tickets. For sold out shows such as Garth Brooks, it was extremely difficult to get tickets and whichever tickets people are willing to buy resale online are entirely too expensive. Many of the lower level section is reserved for season ticket holders, the public can rarely buy these seats. After the season ticket holders see the lineup and decide they don’t want to go to the show, they will later resale these tickets to the public. Many times these tickets are over priced what the face value is. The Houston Rodeo needs to figure out a way to stop this outrageous and expensive resale from going on and letting fans have a fair chance.
Nonetheless, there’s always going to be complaints and I doubt any of these are going to affect rodeo sells, especially since they’ve probably already made their money back off of the two sold out Garth Brooks shows before the rest of the lineup even went on sale. This past week the tickets went on sale to the general public. Hopefully everyone got a chance to buy tickets for their favorite shows before they were sold out. I think we can all agree the rodeo has some issues that need to be fixed, but I’m sure we can put that aside and all have fun and enjoy the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo 2018!