This year’s Preakness InfieldFest, the all-day concert that’s part of the festivities surrounding Baltimore’s Triple Crown horse race, should appeal to country music fans.
Sam Hunt, the Nashville star known for mixing country, pop and R&B, will headline the InfieldFest’s main stage, the Stronach Group — which owns the Preakness and its venue, Pimlico Race Course — announced Wednesday. Country duo LoCash and the Canadian pop-country act High Valley are scheduled to perform on a second stage.
Good Charlotte, the veteran pop-punk band featuring Waldorf natives Benji and Joel Madden, will also perform at the May concert.
A second main-stage act has yet to be booked, but an announcement is expected soon, said Seth Hurwitz, chairman of the production company I.M.P. and the person responsible for booking the main stage.
This year’s emphasis on country marks a shift in I.M.P.’s approach. In the past few years, the InfieldFest has included electronic dance music artists (The Chainsmokers, Armin van Buuren), Top 40 pop acts (Lorde, Maroon 5, Bruno Mars) and rappers (Fetty Wap, Childish Gambino, Nas, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis).
“The last few years, we found a niche that was very popular, but nobody wants to do the same sort of show every year,” Hurwitz said. “We wanted to try something different.”
Hunt, whose hybrid approach to country has earned him comparisons to the hip-hop artist Drake, was a strong fit for InfieldFest because of his mass appeal, Hurwitz said.
“A lot of the audience that goes to Preakness are country fans, but he’s not your typical country act,” he said.
The InfieldFest will have local ties beyond Good Charlotte. LoCash, the Nashville group known for singles “I Love This Life” and “I Know Somebody,” features Towson native Chris Lucas.
Hurwitz said there’s no timeline for when the second main-stage act will be booked.
“The deadline is when we find something else cool and exciting,” he said. “We’ve got a few ideas, and we’ll announce it when we find it.”
The concert, along with the 142nd Preakness, will take place May 20 at Pimlico Race Course. Tickets are on sale now.