Attendees at the 2018 GIE+EXPO and Hardscape North America, set for Oct. 17-19, will be treated to three nights of free, top-notch entertainment. New this year, the after-show-hours entertainment will kick off on Tuesday with the popular party rock band The Crashers. Wednesday and Thursday headliners include country/blues/rock/rap singer Colt Ford; and one of country music’s brightest new stars, Jana Kramer, thanks to sponsors Bob-Cat Mowers and Mercedes-Benz Vans.
“We’re excited to have Bob-Cat and Mercedes back on board to bring three nights of networking for attendees, and we’re shaking things up this year with a Tuesday concert,” said Warren Sellers, show director. “Attendees who plan to be on hand Wednesday for the new industrywide show hours, opening keynotes and education can get an early start on the networking and fun.”
On the Mercedes-Benz Vans Stage at 4th Street Live! in downtown Louisville
Tuesday, October 16, 8 p.m.
Headliner: The Crashers
Wednesday, October 17, 8 p.m.
Opening Act: Kelleigh Bannen
Headliner: Colt Ford
Thursday, October 18, 8 p.m.
Opening Act: Mackenzie Porter
Headliner: Jana Kramer
Back at GIE+EXPO and HNA for a third year, The Crashers, will kick things off at the new Tuesday night concert. Formed in 2008, this group has established itself, both regionally and nationally, as theband to see. They’ve performed all over the country, leaving crowds wanting more, from the Super Bowl (as the official pre-game band for NBC at Super Bowl XLVI) to rockin’ it out as the backing band for national artists like Luke Bryan and Kid Rock.
Opening the Wednesday concert, Kelleigh Bannen’s sound mixes country twang, pop hooks and southern storytelling into the same pot. Throughout a career that’s included major-label singles, independent releases, Top 50 hits and shows alongside icons like Hank Williams Jr. and Luke Bryan, she has consistently called her own shots. Kelleigh continues that streak with her new EP, “Cheap Sunglasses,” which joins a catalog that already includes a career-launching indie album, “Radio Skies,” and a handful of singles, from “Smoke When I Drink” to “Famous.”
Colt Ford is bringing his groundbreaking hybrid of country, blues, rock and rap rhythms to GIE+EXPO and HNA. Having recently released his sixth studio album, “Love Hope Faith,” he has built a following that started with mud trucker events and graduated to arena status sharing the stage with the likes of Toby Keith. With five previous albums that have hit the top 10 on the Country Albums list, the singer has developed a sterling reputation among his fans for coming up with a narrative that they truly identify with.
Thursday night kicks off with winner of Nashville North Star competition MacKenzie Porter, a musician, actress and singer from Canada. After touring with her brother Kalan Porter (Canadian Idol winner) as a family band, MacKenzie launched her solo career in 2010 and her debut album, which includes “I Wish I’d Known” and “Never Gonna Let You,” in 2014. She has opened for Kenny Chesney, Doc Walker and Trooper, among others.
In just a few years, Jana Kramer became one of country music’s brightest new stars. Her platinum debut single, “Why Ya Wanna,” rocketed to No. 3 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in 2012 making her the most played new artist of that year. Since then, the Academy of Country Music has honored her with its Top New Female Artist Award, and she’s been up for Female Vocalist of the Year. Kramer was already a star when she broke into country music, with a massive fan base she had built as an actress in numerous films and TV shows, including a two-year run on The CW’s “One Tree Hill.”
GIE+EXPO is sponsored by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, Inc. (OPEI), Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS) and National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP). For information, visit www.gie-expo.com.