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Country music returns to UA


Photo
Photo courtesy Universal Music Company
Country sensation Sugarland will play at Centennial Hall on Friday. Tickets are on sale online and at the box office for $12 to CatCard-carrying students and $25 to the general public.
By Mika Mandelbaum
Arizona Daily Wildcat
September 12, 2005
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A band recently nominated for three country music awards will take the stage Friday at UA's Centennial Hall for their last college-venue performance of the year.

The Universities Activities Board booked Sugarland, a fast-rising country music group, in May just before the band decided to end its college tour, said Ginger Eady, coordinator for campus activities and UAB advisor.

The band is making the UA their last college stop because their success and popularity have grown exponentially since their debut, landing the band a bigger national tour with Brad Paisley, Eady said.

Sugarland's first single, "Baby Girl," is the highest charting debut single by a country group in 14 years and the longest charting single in Billboard history, according to a press release.

Last week, Sugarland was nominated for three country music awards in the categories of Horizon Award, Vocal Group of the Year and Single of the Year, according to the CMA Web site.

"This is probably the hottest act in the country right now," Eady said. "Especially for how much we paid for them."

UAB secured Sugarland for $25,000 after requesting additional funding from the Arizona Student Unions. The event will cost UAB an estimated $40,000, Eady said.

Tickets went on sale Aug. 29, but have not sold as well as expected. About 500 tickets have been sold to fill the 2,500-seat capacity that Centennial Hall can hold.

"Until it's sold out, we can always be doing better," said Kristen Maryn, UAB concerts chair.

Student tickets are $12 with a CatCard and $25 for the general public.

But ticket sales are expected to increase this week, Eady said.

"We heard from agencies that country music fans are a late ticket-buying crowd," Eady said. "We have a long way to go, but I have a good feeling we'll get there."

The UA hasn't seen a country music concert in years, but after surveys conducted by UAB indicated country music was in the top three favorite student music genres, UAB wanted to respond to students' requests.

"It's really hard to meet the needs and wants of every student, so the best we can do is bring an eclectic mix of acts," Maryn said. "I'm not particularly a country music fan, but their music seems to breach the country music stereotype a bit."

In spite of the band's rising success, there are UA students who have never heard of Sugarland.

"A lot of my friends listen to country music and in turn I listen to country music, but I've never heard of them," said James Lydiard, a biology senior.

Robin Goldberg, a media arts senior, also said she does not recognize the band.

"Are they new or something?" Goldberg said. "I would go if I had heard of them before. I think it's cool that they're coming."

This show offers a good opportunity to experience country music, even for those who don't know much about it, Maryn said.

"Live music is great, regardless of if it's the type of music you listen to normally," Maryn said. "I love concerts. I love giving the artists a venue to perform in and fans a chance to appreciate."



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