Garth Brooks To Headline Inaugural Sugar Bowl Country Kickoff, Joined By Lainey Wilson And Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

“Being asked to be part of the first-ever Sugar Bowl Country Kickoff is an honor,” Brooks shared.


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

July 12, 2023


12:10 pm

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Garth Brooks, Lainey Wilson; Photos by Andrew Wendowski

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Garth Brooks, Lainey Wilson, and Nitty Gritty Dirt Band will help celebrate the start of the 2023 college football season at the inaugural Sugar Bowl Country Kickoff. 

Presented by the Louisiana Office of Tourism, the music and entertainment event will be held on Saturday, September 2 at the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans. 

Garth Brooks will headline the event, while Louisiana’s own, Lainey Wilson, and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band will open the show. 

According to a press release, the event is expected to become an annual Labor Day weekend affair, adding another world-class musical occasion to the New Orleans calendar.

“Being asked to be part of the first-ever Sugar Bowl Country Kickoff is an honor,” Brooks shared in a statement. “The fun will be in getting to perform with Legends Nitty Gritty and future legend Miss Wilson in front of arguably the greatest country music fans on the planet. Any trip to Louisiana is a guaranteed good time so PLEASE count me in!!”

The Sugar Bowl Country Kickoff on September 2nd will open its festivities at Champions Square with Tailgate Town, an interactive football-themed experience sponsored by New Orleans & Company. This exciting segment of the event will showcase emerging music talent while setting the stage for the main entertainment at the Superdome. Tailgate Town will also include highlights of college football and amateur sports, sponsor activations, and various games and activities throughout the day, creating a vibrant atmosphere before fans transition inside the Superdome for performances by Brooks, Wilson and Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. 

“The Sugar Bowl Committee is always looking at ways to bring first-rate entertainment that will drive tourism in Louisiana,” said Sugar Bowl President Richard Briede. “While efforts have traditionally focused on sporting events, Russell Doussan and the Doussan Music Group have provided us the opportunity to add great music, another hallmark of the state, to the Sugar Bowl repertoire as we start a new football season.  The Sugar Bowl is particularly pleased that proceeds from the event will help support the work our organization is doing in the community.”

The event’s proceeds will be dedicated to supporting various community programs through the Allstate Sugar Bowl. This includes the renowned New Orleans Teacher Collective, as well as existing scholarship programs and annual youth events that the organization actively backs. The funds raised will contribute to the ongoing assistance provided by the Bowl to these valuable initiatives.

“As the College Football Playoff looks to expand a year from now, we find ourselves in an increasingly competitive environment,” said Bowl CEO Jeff Hundley.  “This has caused us to look at everything with a fresh set of eyes and to look at creative ways to drive revenue in order to remain competitive with larger cities in possession of much larger corporate bases.  The Sugar Bowl Country Kickoff provides us with just such an opportunity while allowing us to continue to do good things for our city and state.”

Sugar Bowl Country Kickoff
Sugar Bowl Country Kickoff

“We are excited to have not just Garth Brooks in the Superdome, but also our very own Louisiana Music Ambassador and Louisiana native Lainey Wilson,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. “She rocked the world with us on our float in the Rose Parade and we know she will get the crowd rocking to welcome Garth to the stage in New Orleans. This lineup has all the makings of a great Louisiana Saturday night.”

“Creating an Annual Music Event to celebrate the opening of the College Football season in my hometown, with the Sugar Bowl and then launching it with Garth Brooks is truly a dream come true,” said Russell Doussan, the owner and president of Doussan Music Group.”

Tickets for the inaugural Sugar Bowl Country Kickoff will go on sale on Friday, July 21 at 10 a.m. via Tickets will be $98.95 all inclusive.

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Lauren Jo Black

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Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for and her work being featured on She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.