BATON ROUGE—Negotiations are under way to bring a country music festival to Baton Rouge over Memorial Day weekend next year.
Baton Rouge officials say they're working with New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival promoter Quint Davis and his partners to create the festival.
Davis associate Louis Edwards declined comment, citing the early stages of the project.
Baton Rouge chief administrative officer Mike Futrell said city officials and the convention and visitors bureau are expected to decide in the coming weeks whether to chip in $300,000 each and that dates are being penciled in for Tiger Stadium.
Herb Vincent, senior associate athletic director for Louisiana State University, confirmed discussions have been held to host the "Bayou Country Superfest" over Memorial Day weekend 2010.
Futrell said Baton Rouge, known for sports and government and rapidly growing in recent years, is "primed" for this type of event.
Jazzfest is a sprawling event with entertainment, food and crafts vendors in tents scattered about the Fair Grounds racetrack. The choice of the roughly 90,000-seat Tiger Stadium on the LSU campus suggests the country music event would have a different feel.
Jazzfest, the 40-year-old spring event, is known for its mix of local and regional artists and big-name acts. Bon Jovi, which broke out in the '80s hey-day of Big Hair rock bands, proved a huge draw at the festival this spring. Modern and retro - Kings of Leon and Neil Young - also played.
Paul Arrigo, president and chief executive of the Baton Rouge-area convention and visitors bureau, said his understanding is that the target for a country festival would be "big name entertainment."
He said he would be surprised if plans fell through: "The pieces are all in place to make it happen."
The Baton Rouge metro area experienced a growth spurt after Hurricane Katrina scattered New Orleans' residents in 2005. While some former New Orleans residents have returned, business and residential development has continued in the capital area.
Arrigo and Futrell see the proposed country festival as adding to the state's deep culture of country, jazz and Acadian music, and giving Baton Rouge a chance to claim a stronger stake.
Arrigo said the festival could pump more than $20 million into the local economy over what is typically a slow weekend.
"Everybody is at the same table here. We're all focused on bringing what we think will be a successful music festival to Louisiana," Futrell said.