Outdoor concerts return to Las Vegas Strip with iHeartRadio fest

Updated February 14, 2018 - 3:10 pm

Outdoor music festivals are returning to the Las Vegas Strip this year — and at least one plans to honor the memories of those affected by the Oct. 1 shootings at Route 91 Harvest.

According to sources familiar with concert bookings here, iHeartRadio Music Festival plans to move its Sept. 22 outdoor festival to Las Vegas Festival Grounds. The show had previously been held at the 15-acre Las Vegas Village, site of the Oct. 1 shooting at Route 91.

Organizers reportedly plan to honor the victims and families of the Oct. 1 tragedy from the stage during the event.

The daylong show would take over the 40-acre plot on the southwest corner of the Strip and Sahara Avenue from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.. The event, called the Daytime Village last year, will again serve as the outdoor complement to the iHeartRadio Music Festival at T-Mobile Arena on Sept. 21 and Sept. 22.

The iHeartRadio event is expected to be part of additional performances this year at the Festival Grounds. Expect a series of announcements about new programming by MGM Resorts on the Strip.

No performers have been announced for this year’s iHeartRadio concerts. Last year’s outdoor show featured such top acts as Khalid, Bebe Rexha, French Montana, Noah Cyrus, Flume, Little Mix, Bleachers, Niall Horan, Halsey and Migos.

The most recent ticketed, live-music event at Festival Grounds was the weekend-long ACM Awards Party for a Cause charity show in April 2016. About 17,000 fans turned out each night for Friday and Saturday shows headlined by Carrie Underwood, Dierks Bentley and Kenny Chesney. The concerts tied to the televised ACM Awards show at MGM Grand Garden Arena.

The Festival Grounds opening event was the star-crossed Rock in Rio international music festival in May 2015. While considered artistic success, Rock in Rio drew less than half of its original audience projections of 80,000 people per day and lost between $24 million-$28 million over two weekends despite featuring headliners such as Bruno Mars, Metallica, No Doubt and John Legend.

Organizers scuttled original plans to return to the site in 2017. Since Rock in Rio pulled out of its anticipated return to the Strip, the Festival Grounds have been almost totally devoid of activity, even as MGM Resorts officials have attempted to lure events — including Route 91 Harvest — to the larger venue. MGM Resorts still owns the Village, and official have not specified how that property will be used in the future (live entertainment remains one of the options under consideration by the company).

In this changing, live-entertainment climate in Las Vegas, iHeartRadio event is designed to reanimate live music on at the Festival Grounds specifically, and on the Strip generally. Most important, it will also serve as the platform to honor the victims of Oct. 1.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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