Downtown Hoedown leaves Detroit for Clarkston

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

The annual Downtown Hoedown country music festival that traditionally kicked off Detroit’s summertime is moving to the suburbs this year, according to organizers.

The 34th annual festival, now called the 99.5 WYCD Hoedown, will be July 31 at the DTE Energy Music Theatre in Clarkston, with headliners Brad Paisley and Chris Young.

The festival traditionally has been held in Detroit over a weekend, kicking off the city’s summer concert season. It was June 5-6 last year along West Riverfront Park after three years at Comerica Park. Before that, it spent decades as a free event at Hart Plaza.

In the Hart Plaza days, which date to the 1980s, attendance numbers were in the hundreds of thousands for the weekend. It was once considered Detroit’s largest festival.

But this year, the festival moves northward and will feature more than 20 bands on three stages, organizers said. Other performers will include Grammy nominee Brandy Clark, Chris Lane, Drew Baldridge, Jordan Rager, Lindsay Ell, Runaway June and Gunnar & the Grizzly Boys.

Runaway June is a new band that features Jennifer Wayne, grand daughter of the late John Wayne.

“We’ve been partners with Live Nation on this for quite a few years and they presented this opportunity to us,” said Debbie Kenyon, senior vice president and market manager, CBS Radio Detroit. She adds that the reason for hosting the Hoedown in late July rather than late spring is due to the headliners’ routing.

Gates will open at 2 p.m. Tickets are available starting at 10 a.m. April 16. Prices range from $29-$78 and will be available at,, the Palace Ticket Store and all Ticketmaster locations.

Concert-goers also can call (800) 745-3000 for tickets.

“Country music fans have come to expect the very best performers at Hoedown, and this year’s lineup will not disappoint them,” Kenyon said in a news release. “We look forward to creating a superior event at the historic outdoor concert venue at DTE in partnership with Palace Sports & Entertainment and Live Nation, culminating in an unforgettable concert.”

The DTE Energy Music Theatre holds 15,000.

“The venue has a rich history and tradition of hosting many of the nation’s top touring country acts, and the grounds at DTE will offer the perfect setting for concertgoers to enjoy the complete Hoedown experience,” said Adam Schneider, senior vice president of Entertainment for PS&E.

(313) 223-4616


Staff Writer Melody Baetens contributed

Recent Hoedown History

2015: West Riverfront Park, June 5-6, $32-$72 each day, $43.50 weekend pass. Headliners were Darius Rucker and Rascal Flats.

2014: Comerica Park Parking Lot, May 30-June 1, $29.95 per day. Headliners were Dierks Bentley, Kellie Pickler and Big & Rich.

2013: Comerica Park Parking Lot, May 31-June 2, $20 per day, $30 weekend pass. Headliners were Uncle Kracker, Emerson Drive and Aaron Lewis.

2012: Comerica Park Parking Lot, June 8-10, $20 per day, $30 weekend pass. 30th anniversary with headliners Josh Gracin, Dierks Bentley and Miranda Lambert, who was joined on stage by Kid Rock.

2011-1983: Hart Plaza, free admission.

2000: WYCD took over as host of the festival.

Melody Baetens