EDITORIAL - Making music, making history in Youngstown
Saturday, August 11, 2018, promises to be one historic red-letter day for the city of Youngstown.
That’s because tomorrow’s second Y LIVE concert at Youngstown State University’s Stambaugh Stadium featuring one of the hottest national acts in country/crossover music is scheduled to perform. Many believe it will rise as the largest concert crowd ever assembled at one venue in Youngstown’s 222-year history.
The buzz surrounding the Florida Georgia Line concert is reaching fevered levels as tickets for the event near a sellout.
To be sure, the sophomore year for Y LIVE, professionally organized and promoted by JAC Live and The Muransky Companies, once again will spawn a slew of superlatives.
First, the concert promises to be the largest in the city of Youngstown’s history, filling the Ice Castle with about 20,000 people, or several thousand more than last year’s history-making inaugural event that headlined the Zac Brown Band. Some say they wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes the largest single gathering of people anywhere in the city since former President John F. Kennedy drew 20,000-plus for a campaign rally in Central Square in 1960.
Second, the event will feature one of the most indisputably popular musical acts on the global music scene today. The Nashville-based duo of Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley commands huge followings and boasts a dozen No. 1 songs on major charts since 2012.
The group’s latest single, “Meant to Be,” has just broken the record of Sam Hunt’s “Body Like a Back Road” for the longest-running single at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. For the week of Aug. 11, it logged its 36th straight week in the driver’s seat.
In addition, the concert also will offer one of the biggest and best opportunities for the city and the university to put their ongoing physical renaissance on prime display for visitors from across Northeast Ohio, Western Pennsylvania and elsewhere to see.
Close to the stadium, many may marvel at the redevelopment and hubbub of the university corridor, with the most recent attractive additions of The Enclave student housing and retail complex fronting Wick and Lincoln avenues opening this month. Then, of course, there’s the monumental makeover of those two heavily traveled streets since last year’s event took place.
We’re also pleased that the promoters learned some lessons from last year’s Y LIVE concert to heart and implemented a variety of changes this year that we believe should usher in greater success.
First, JAC and Muransky scheduled the concert about two weeks earlier in order to lessen the congestion caused by the simultaneous start of fall classes with its onslaught of nearly 13,000 students near the concert venue.
Second, the promoters have planned for easier access into the stadium by increasing the number of gates and using metal detectors instead of hand-held wands to expedite security.
Third, in response to long and anxious lines for restroom use last year, the addition of portable toilets in the plaza area will double the number of toilet facilities this year. What a relief that is!
In addition, the promoters sought and found an act that has no other appearances throughout the Cleveland to Pittsburgh corridor in the recent past or near future. That difference already has made the drawing power of the concert much more forceful .
And while we’re excited for the hype and superlatives of the one-night extravaganza at Stambugh Stadium, we’re just as enthused about its ability to add another sturdy link in the city of Youngstown’s growing chain of advances for quality of life and urban renaissance.
It complements well other progressive projects such as the Youngstown Foundation Amphitheater and park, the twofold expansion of Youngstown Tool & Die Co. and the opening and expansion of Joseph Companies International’s chill-can campus on the East side, among others.
Of course, one concert will not in and of itself transform a city. Nonetheless, if the energy, exuberance and faith in the city on display at Y LIVE Saturday night can be harnessed and repurposed year-round, Florida George Line may help play a role in ushering in a lively medley of other uplifting and historic achievements for Youngstown.