It was bound to happen, and you can bellyache all you want about not being able to see one of your favorite artists in a more intimate venue. But you were warned, and had your chances for years to see Billy Strings in local watering holes, clubs downtown, and historic theaters across the country. But now the appeal for Billy Strings has reached critical mass, and he will be officially taking bluegrass music to the arena level in 2023.
Just let that sink in for a moment: this is Bill Monroe’s music that is now becoming so resonant among such a wide swath of the population, they have to book it in 14,000+ capacity venues, and in some cases, for multiple nights in a row just to satisfy demand. We’ve seen independent country artists like Sturgill Simpson and Tyler Childers conjoin to play arenas (before the pandemic cut it short), but who knows if this could be done today. With Billy Strings, there’s no choice.
This week Billy Strings announced a slew of new dates for 2023. He’ll be playing an intimate show at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on February 26th like he’s done many times before. But he’s also booked not one, but two nights at the Bridgestone Arena across the street right in the heart of mainstream country’s epicenter on February 24th and 25th. Even some major label acts can’t demand that kind of capacity.
On February 21st and 22nd, Billy Strings will be playing the 14,000-capacity John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Virginia—again, two nights at the biggest music venue in the region. Same with the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Winston-Salem, NC March 3rd and 4th, and the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, GA, capacity 21,000.
It’s true that Billy String has already been playing some arena-capacity venues here in 2022, and selling them out as well. It’s also true that to help keep himself grounded and still give fans some opportunities at intimate performances, Strings is also booking some smaller shows like his night at the Ryman, or one at the 1,000-capacity Georgia Theatre in Athens on March 7th, 2023.
But let’s not overlook what is happening here, and make sure we celebrate just what an achievement this is. Billy Strings is now an arena artist, and he got here not by selling out, but in many respects, doubling down on his bluegrass roots, including his upcoming album Me / and / Dad comprised of traditional country and bluegrass songs to be released on November 18th.
Billy’s appeal in the jam band realm has also opened up an entirely different audience, and there is definitely a Grateful Dead aspect to his fandom of folks following him all around the country to see him play that has helped bolster his audience. But ultimately, this is bluegrass—an elemental building block to true country music—finding an arena-level appeal. Eat your heart out, Music Row.
Tickets go on sale to the general public Friday, November 4th at 10:00 a.m. local time.
BILLY STRINGS TOUR DATES:
Bold = New dates
11/03 — Kalamazoo, MI @ Wings Event Center
11/04 — Saginaw, MI @ Dow Event Center
11/05 — Pittsburgh, PA @ Petersen Events Center
11/09 — Rochester, NY @ Blue Cross Arena
11/11 — Uniondale, NY @ Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum
11/12 — Philadelphia, PA @ The Met – SOLD OUT
11/13 — Philadelphia, PA @ The Met – SOLD OUT
11/16 — Richmond, VA @ Virginia Credit Union LIVE! – SOLD OUT
11/18 — Washington, DC @ The Anthem – SOLD OUT
11/19 — Washington, DC @ The Anthem – SOLD OUT
11/29 — Oslo, NO @ Rockefeller Music Hall
11/30 — Copenhagen, DE @ Vega
12/01 — Stockholm, SE @ Slaktkyrkan – SOLD OUT
12/03 — Berlin, DE @ Columbia Theater – SOLD OUT
12/04 — Amsterdam, NE @ Melkweg – SOLD OUT
12/05 — Cologne, DE @ Die Kantine
12/07 — London, UK @ O2 Forum Kentish Town – SOLD OUT
12/08 — Manchester, UK @ O2 Ritz Manchester
12/09 — Dublin, IE @ The Academy – SOLD OUT
12/11 — Glasgow, UK @ Galvanizers Yard
12/30 — New Orleans, LA @ Lakefront Arena
12/31 — New Orleans, LA @ Lakefront Arena – SOLD OUT
02/02 — Denver, CO @ 1STBANK Center – SOLD OUT
02/03 — Denver, CO @ 1STBANK Center – SOLD OUT
02/04 — Denver, CO @ 1STBANK Center – SOLD OUT
02/16 — Atlantic City, NJ @ Hard Rock Live at Etess Arena
02/17 — Atlantic City, NJ @ Hard Rock Live at Etess Arena
02/18 — Atlantic City, NJ @ Hard Rock Live at Etess Arena
02/21 — Charlottesville, VA @ John Paul Jones Arena
02/22 — Charlottesville, VA @ John Paul Jones Arena
02/24 — Nashville, TN @ Bridgestone Arena
02/25 — Nashville, TN @ Bridgestone Arena
02/26 — Nashville, TN @ Ryman Auditorium
03/03 — Winston-Salem, NC @ Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum – Doc Watson’s 100th Birthday Show
03/04 — Winston-Salem, NC @ Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum
03/07 — Athens, GA @ Georgia Theatre
03/10 — Atlanta, GA @ State Farm Arena
03/11 — Charleston, SC @ North Charleston Coliseum
03/12 — Charleston, SC @ North Charleston Coliseum
03/16 — Cincinnati, OH @ The Andrew J Brady Music Center
03/17 — Cincinnati, OH @ The Andrew J Brady Music Center
03/18 — Cincinnati, OH @ The Andrew J Brady Music Center