Country superstars Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood were visibly amazed when they performed to a sold-out crowd in Salt Lake City last summer.
“It is the place !” proclaimed the husband and wife during the show, as relentless cheers from fans erupted around them.
Now new research from the Austin, Texas-based company LawnStarter supports this statement: Salt Lake City is a great place for country music.
LawnStarter reviewed more than 180 of the largest US cities, taking into account key factors such as the number of country music concerts, access to performance venues and affordability of concert tickets.
Here’s a look at the best — and worst — cities for country music, and what made Salt Lake City stand out.
Top 10 US cities for country fans
- Nashville, Tennessee.
- New York, New York.
- Salt Lake City, Utah.
- Atlanta, Georgia.
- Charleston, South Carolina.
- Chicago, Ill.
- Austin, Texas.
- Richmond, Virginia.
- Eugene, Oregon.
- Denver, Colorado.
The 10 worst cities in America for country fans
- Brownville, Texas.
- Killin, Texas.
- Newark, New Jersey.
- Paterson, New Jersey.
- Laredo, Texas.
- Palmdale, California.
- Hollywood, Florida.
- Lancaster, California.
- Mesquite, Texas.
- Garden Grove, California.
Main lessons from the research
Nashville is the place… for country music
For the second year in a row, Nashville topped the charts as the best place for country music fans — hands down.
- “No other major city has booked more acts for the next two years and country music-related terms on Google more times in the past 12 months,” the study noted.
But while Nashville ranked first for access and interest in the country music genre, the city ranked significantly lower when it came to quality and affordability of live music venues – No. 68 and No. 116, respectively.
There is a new finalist
New York replaced Las Vegas as the No. 2 city for country music fans. The city significantly outnumbered the competition when it came to country radio stations, with a total of 24, nearly double the number in Nashville.
Country Music Isn’t Just a Southern Thing
Although country music has a strong association with the South, there is million fans across the United States – and this is reflected in the results of this study. Several regions of the United States are represented in the top 10 cities for country music fans.
How did Salt Lake City rank?
Overall, considering several factors, Salt Lake City ranked #3 in the United States for country music fans.
The town’s greatest strength was its access to country music concerts. Salt Lake City placed third in this category, which considered factors such as number of country music radio stations and most music venues per 100,000 population.
Interest in the country music genre and quality of venues fell more in the middle of the pack, ranking No. 47 and No. 50, respectively, while affordability of concerts in Salt Lake City ranked slightly higher. top at No. 34.
It’s no surprise that Salt Lake City ranks so high for country music fans. Last year, the city broke a Ticketmaster record when Garth Brooks’ tour stop at Rice-Eccles Stadium sold out in 30 minutes. This led to Brooks unexpectedly announcing near the end of that show that he would be returning to the venue before his stadium tour was over.
Salt Lake City was the only city Brooks returned to on his stadium tour.
But Brooks didn’t stop there. He ended up adding another show in Salt Lake City — his third in a year.
“I don’t care if 500 people show up. We’re going to put a third one up for sale,” Brooks said in a video shared on Twitter at the time. “And that way, those people who waited two long sales and didn’t get tickets will now be guaranteed to get a ticket here.
“The truth is, it’s all selfish for me because now I get to play in one of the coolest places not once, not twice, but three times,” Brooks said in the video. “Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the love.”