Features June 21, 2022

A Century of Country – Greeley Stampede’s New Stage Set for Brad Paisley and More

by Dan England

The Greeley Stampede’s new stage was built with Brad Paisley in mind.

The last time he played here, in 2007, Paisley had 10 semi-trailers full of equipment, said Justin Watada, executive director of the Stampede. Eight of them went to his next show. 

Workers complete the new JBS Stage at Island Grove Regional Park – Just in time for the 100th Greeley Stampede Rodeo and Superstar Concert Series, including Stone Temple Pilots and Brad Paisley. Cover Photo: Justin Watada, executive director of the Stampede, explains the final steps of the construction. Photos by Dan England.

That won’t happen this time, as the brand new stage is bigger and much better, with all the fixins you’d expect from a show at Red Rocks. And Paisley is back as the Stampede’s biggest act in a lineup that includes Stone Temple Pilots, Jon Pardi, Cole Swindell and Jordan Davis.

There’s no doubt the Stampede’s old setup was outdated. Way back in 2007, three “up and coming” acts performed with Paisley, including a young lady named Taylor Swift. The new stage will feature top-notch lighting, sound and twice as much space as before, with a platform that will allow the artists to walk 50 feet out into the crowd.

“Concerts are all about money and production,” Watada said. “Lately we were offering more money to acts, but we were still being bypassed.”

Brad Paisley on stage in 2007 – the last tour which brought him to the Greeley Stampede – this year he plays the new JBS Stage on Friday, June 24.

The stage isn’t quite finished yet, and yes, the Stampede starts Thursday, on June 23 (Paisley kicks things off the next day). So, yes, Watada is a tad nervous (and yes, he’s answered that question 1,000 times). In fact, the Stampede had hoped to put on a concert in April just to try it out. But supply chain issues hit the Stampede too: The transformer for the stage is backordered until August – a month after the Stampede wraps up. But don’t worry too much. The stage will be set, and it’s doubtful the crowd will notice what’s missing. 

“It’s really the smaller details now,” Watada said a week before the opener as construction workers raced around him.

Watada is proud of the lineup. It won’t be as big as this every year, but this is the Stampede’s 100th anniversary. The concert series features six shows for $100, including a Christian concert featuring Jeremy Camp.

Early stages of construction for the new stage at Island Grove Regional Park.

Last year the Stampede did really well, even with a pared down concert lineup, because everyone wanted to have some fun after wallowing in the pandemic. But this year people are noticing the quality of the acts.

“We sold more packages this year in the first week,” Watada said, “than we did all of last year.” 

Tickets, concert lineup and a complete schedule of events including the free Civitas Park Music Stage, the Stampede’s first hip-hop show, information on rodeos and the carnival all at greeleystampede.org This feature was originally published in The NoCo Optimist, run in a partnership with BandWagon Magazine.