The new ACM ‘Party For a Cause’ to spread across Las Vegas

After five years in Las Vegas, the “Party for a Cause” knows how to party.

It knows where, too.

The Academy of Country Music’s annual festival benefiting the ACM Lifting Lives charity has ballooned to include events at theaters, music halls and taverns on and off the Strip for its next run in Vegas. The event begins March 30 and concludes with the April 2 ACM Awards, which will be broadcast live on CBS.

Previously, the “Party for a Cause” was held over multiple days on a single site, originally at the Linq promenade parking lot and last year at Las Vegas Festival Grounds. This year, the party’s expanded range of revelry

includes The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel, Stoney’s Rockin’ Country at Town Square, Toby Keith’s I Love this Bar & Grill at Harrah’s, Virgil’s Real BBQ at the Linq, Mandalay Bay Beach, Redneck Riviera at the Grand Bazaar Shops at Bally’s, Go Pool at Flamingo Las Vegas, Pearl Concert Theater at the Palms, the ballroom at Red Rock Resort, House of Blues at Mandalay Bay, and even the new Park Theater at Monte Carlo. Festivities will also include interactive ACM “fan experiences,” (details about that are still forthcoming).

A mix of emerging artists and established stars have scheduled appearances, including Kelsea Ballerini, Billy Currington, Ryan Follese, Lady Antebellum, LOCASH, Kip Moore, Jake Owen, Chris Stapleton, Michael Tyler, Clay Walker and Brett Young. (An updated schedule for all “Party for a Cause” events is linked at

The ACM Awards show has taken place in Las Vegas for 14 years, first at the MGM Grand and now T-Mobile Arena. The event took a year away in 2015 to celebrate its 50th anniversary at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas (home of the Cowboys with helmets), before returning to MGM Grand last year.

Just as the National Finals Rodeo turns the city country during its 10-day run at the Thomas & Mack Center each December, the ACMs have labeled the group’s week of activities “Vegas Goes Country,” and using “Party for a Cause” as the vehicle for this year’s expansion. As ACM Lifting Lives Chairman Ed Warm said in a statement Friday: “It feels good to align all of our auxiliary events surrounding the ACM Awards with a philanthropic purpose the fans have always embraced.”


Justin Spencer jokes, “We’ve played almost 6,000 shows. I remember eight of them. It’s all a blur.”

But he’ll likely remember next Sunday’s performance by his actRecycled Percussion. The resident show at Saxe Theater at Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood is scheduled to play at the Super Bowl LI pregame party outside Houston’s NRG Stadium . The guys have opened an online contest on their Facebook page for a single fan to join them on the trip and at the performance.

“We have built this show from literally nothing to something that appeals to an international audience,” said Spencer, who conceived the concept of four guys rhythmically slamming away on such commonplace items as plastic buckets, pots, pans and trashcan lids in 1994. “We just got back from playing 17 shows in the East Coast and sold out all of them.”

Spencer hails from Manchester, N.H., and is a New England Patriots fan. “We were close to being chosen last year, but it worked out this year, because the Pats are in it.”


Comedian, unicycle acrobat and juggling sensation Jeff Civillico has ended his run at Bugsy’s Cabaret at Flamingo Las Vegas. Civillico had taken time off for knee surgery last October, and planned to return to the stage Feb. 6. Instead, the host of the 5:30 p.m. production — who was just 77 shows shy of reaching the 1,000 mark — is leaving the venue with plans to continue a residency on the Strip. Civillico has hosted the web broadcast “The Weekend in Las Vegas” since last August and said he plans to focus on TV work. As founder of the Win-Win Entertainment charity in Las Vegas, Civillico has also launched a monthly performance series for the kids at St. Jude’s Ranch for Children in Boulder City.

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 Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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