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Hayes and McBryde added to MAD grand opening

by Special to the News-Times | July 6, 2017 at 5:00 a.m.

EL DORADO — Officials with the Murphy Arts District (MAD) have announced that several artists have been added to its September grand opening lineup, which will include more than 40 performers over five days as it also celebrates the 30th anniversary of MusicFest.

The grand opening is scheduled to be held from Sept. 27 through Oct. 1, with musical acts around the Union County Courthouse Square in downtown El Dorado for MusicFest on Sept. 29 and 30 and in the new arts district located south of the square, centered on Cedar, Locust, Jefferson and Hill streets, in the MAD Griffin Music Hall and Murphy Amphitheater on Sept. 27 and 28 and Oct. 1.

Hunter Hayes, a five-time Grammy nominee and 2012 Country Music Association (CMA) New Artist of the Year, and Arkansas’s own Ashley McBryde, one of Rolling Stone magazine’s 2017 “10 New Artists You Need To Know,” have been added to the Sept. 30 lineup.

Hayes and McBryde will join Chase Bryant in opening for headliner Brad Paisley, who has won three Grammy Awards, 14 Academy of Country Music Awards, 14 Country Music Association Awards and two American Music Awards.

“Our strategy is to bring a wide variety of hot emerging and current artists to Southern Arkansas,” said Mark Givens, vice president/entertainment for MAD. “I’m committed to surprising people in this part of the country with the kind of quality music and performances we’re going to be booking.”

Givens has booked more than 20 bands for the free performances on stages around Union Square, located in the heart of historic downtown El Dorado. These performances are part of the 30th anniversary celebration of MusicFest, a seven-time Arkansas Festival of the Year.

The full lineup can be found on www.eldoMAD.com, and tickets will be available in Mid-July.

The Union Square free performances will generate a festival vibe adding to the excitement around the ticketed headliners in the MAD amphitheater and Griffin Music Hall, Givens said. Tickets for headlining acts such as ZZ Top and Brad Paisley will go on sale later in July.

The MAD $100 million revitalization project has two parts – Phase I, to be completed in September 2017, with the launch of the Griffin Restaurant, cabaret lounge, Griffin Music Hall, Amphitheater and destination children’s playscape, followed shortly thereafter by Phase II – a $32 million renovation of the 1920s Rialto Theater, creation of a 10,000-square-foot art gallery and exhibition hall plus artist-in-residence quarters.

At 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 27, “An Evening with Lyle Lovett, Robert Earl Keen and John Hiatt” will be held in the Griffin Music Hall. On Sept. 28, Natasha Bedingfield will perform at 8 p.m., followed by Train at 9 p.m. On Sept. 29, the Robert Randolph Band will play at 6 p.m. in the amphitheater, followed at 7:30 p.m. by X-Ambassadors, ZZ Top at 9 p.m. and Ludacris at 11:30 p.m. On Sept. 30, performers will include Chase Bryant, Ashley McBryde and Hunter Hayes at 6 p.m., Brad Paisley at 9 p.m. and Migos at 11:30 p.m. Smokey Robinson will perform at 4 p.m. on Oct. 1 with the South Arkansas Symphony Orchestra – a free concert open to the public to be held in the amphitheater.

MAD, a production of El Dorado Festivals & Events, is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to create and sustain an arts and entertainment destination that acts as a catalyst for cultural and educational change for the region. It relies on the generous support of individuals, corporations and foundations to develop and sustain programs that improve the quality of life in the community and region.

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