Don’t mess with a full house.
True in poker, certainly, and also in the world of music festivals. The Route 91 Harvest Festival has reinforced that adage by staying put at Las Vegas Village, the one-time parking lot across the Strip from Luxor and Mandalay Bay. That 15-acre plot is the site of the reliably sold-out, three-day country event set for Sept. 29-Oct. 1.
Organizers are staying with that hand. Tabled for now is any talk of Route 91 moving to the larger, 50-acre Las Vegas Festival Grounds on Sahara Avenue and the Strip. That idea was discussed and even promoted by MGM Resorts officials in 2014 when the festival launched.
“We like where we are, we have a site and a festival that delivers what fans want,” says Live Nation Live Music President Brian O’Connell, organizer and promoter of the annual event. “It’s become a thing in Las Vegas. We could move it and take chances on the north site, but that is a philosophical argument rather than a tangible argument.”
In its fourth installment, Route 91 again expects 25,000 fans each day and night, dazzled by the view of surrounding Strip resorts. This year’s headliners include Jason Aldean, Eric Church and Sam Hunt. Also in the mix: Lauren Alaina, Big & Rich, Lee Brice, Kane Brown, Brothers Osborne, Josh Abbott Band, Maren Morris, Jake Owen, Michael Ray, High Valley and Brett Young.
The complete daily rundown of performers will be announced later, but Route 91 officials are presenting the event as a three-day experience; the day-to-day lineup is secondary to the event’s full country-culture experience. Tickets are being sold in three-day passes ranging from $210 for general admission to $750 for the top VIP level (same prices as last year), and available March 4 at rt91harvest.com.
“Having success in Las Vegas, where there are more things to do than anywhere, is not easy,” O’Connell says. “I don’t have any designs on screwing up something we’ve worked so hard on making a success.”
Martin Kaye has titled his show at The Space as “Thank You Vegas,” which is fitting enough. The performance is set for 7 p.m. March 8, and is indeed Kaye’s sendoff. The affable and wildly talented Brit who portrayed Jerry Lee Lewis in “Million Dollar Quartet” plans to move back to his hometown of Manchester, England next month.
Kaye’s show is free of admission; call (702) 903-1070 to RSVP. The night will be a party to bid farewell to a great performer and also, in effect, to “MDQ.” The production closed its four-year run at Harrah’s on Dec. 4, 60 years to the date after the impromptu recording session between Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins that inspired the musical. Scheduled to join Kaye at The Space are his fellow cast mates Rob Lyons (Carl Perkins), Justin Shandor (Elvis) and Marc D. Donovan (Sam Phillips).
For Kaye, who previously performed his autobiographical show “Odd Socks” downtown at Art Square Theater, leaving Las Vegas is bittersweet.
“This city has been so incredible to me,” he says. “This isn’t about making a paycheck. It’s about having one more great night in Las Vegas.”
THE CHER EFFECT
“Frank Marino’s Divas Las Vegas” sold out its weekend shows at Linq Showroom, drawing large numbers of disappointed Cher fans who had planned to see her at The Park Theater at Monte Carlo. “We reminded people that we had Cher in our show,” Marino says. “My audiences go nuts for her.” Suffering from the flu, Cher cancelled her performances at Park Theater last Saturday and Sunday nights. Her Wednesday, Friday and Saturday shows are still a go.
WHO WAS WHERE
On Monday at Elton John’s “The Million Dollar Piano” show at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace: Comic George Lopez; model Georgia May Jagger (daughter of Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall); designer Kenneth Cole; and John’s fellow Colosseum headliners Reba McEntire, Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn …Will Arnett, voice of “The Lego Batman Movie,” teeing off at the third floor of Topgolf on Monday night … On Monday, recording artist Sean Kingston with friends at Marquee at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section, and Fridays in Neon. He also hosts “Kats! On The Radio” Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on KUNV 91.5-FM and appears Wednesdays at 11 a.m. with Dayna Roselli on KTNV Channel 13. Contact him at email@example.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.