Progressive trance DJ Armin van Buuren and actor-turned-rapper Childish Gambino will headline this year’s 2015 Preakness InfieldFest concert on May 16, Pimlico Race Course general manager Sal Sinatra told The Sun on Thursday.
The announcement of van Buuren and Childish Gambino — who is also an actor under his real name, Donald Glover — follows the InfieldFest’s trend of booking of-the-moment artists from genres often associated with younger audiences. (Recent InfieldFest headliners include Lorde, Pitbull, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Wiz Khalifa and Maroon 5.)
In a music landscape where artists are nearly on the road constantly, booking acts for an event like Preakness InfieldFest is not easy, Sinatra said, but van Buuren and Childish Gambino were pegged as potential headliners early in the process.
“The overlaps and the radiuses in which [artists] can play make it a little more difficult than it had in the past, but we were fortunate to get these two,” Sinatra said.
Childish Gambino's "Because the Internet" was nominated at February's Grammy Awards for Best Rap Album. The year before, van Buuren was nominated for Best Dance Recording for "This is What It Feels Like."
While both artists have faithful followings ("Because the Internet" debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard 200 chart in December 2013, and van Buuren has nearly 8.9 million followers on Facebook), neither has the name recognition of say, Top 40 conquerers Maroon 5 or Lorde. When asked if that was a concern, Sinatra replied, "not so much."
"I think they have a decent following," Sinatra said. "I always rely on [Maryland Jockey Club consultant] Karin De Francis doing the legwork to find out what works. We lean on her, and she's done a great job in the past. When she suggests things, I go with it."
Acts for the second stage will be announced soon, Sinatra said.
InfieldFest was again booked by production company and 9:30 Club owners I.M.P. Another Washington-based company, Glow Productions, is also a co-booker.
Pimlico Race Course will host more concerts in the future, Sinatra said, but declined to offer details because it's "too early to tell." Last June, Skrillex brought his "Mothership Tour" to Pimlico, and the electronic dance music-focused Moonrise Festival followed in August.
InfieldFest tickets are on sale now — $60 for general admission and $80 for the MUG Club, which includes a cup to refill with beer as much you want. Prices increase by $10 on May 1. For more information, visit ticketfly.com.