Once again, the Downstream Casino Resort, located four miles west of Joplin on I-44, is getting ready for their summer concert series, with the first concert on Saturday.
County singer Lee Brice will hit the stage at 8 p.m. at the outside venue.

Brice’s song – “I Drive Your Truck” is the 2014 Academy of Country Music’s song of the year.
The Neosho Daily News caught up with Sean Harrison, public relations manager for the casino-resort, to ask about the summer concert series.

NDN: What is the main purpose of the summer concert series?

Harrison: Our summer concert series is essentially an added entertainment feature for our guests and for all concert fans from around the region. We have in the past donated part of the proceeds to Joplin Tornado Relief, and we have collected canned food for the region’s food banks and food pantries. Now we make large food donations through other means on a regular basis. We do still host a tent for Rebuild Joplin organization at every outdoor summer concert.  

This year’s musicians are:

• June 14 Lee Brice;

• June 28 Sammy Hagar and the Wabos, The Red Rocker, presented by Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum;

• July 3 Little Big Town;

• Aug. 22 Lynyrd Skynyrd;

• Oct. 3 An Evening With The Doobie Brothers

NDN: Are these acts new this year or have they been here before?

Harrison: None of these acts have been here before.

NDN: I know that in the past, the concert series has a mixture of bands, how unique is this concert series this year?

Harrison: Over time we have learned what our guests like, and what the region’s concert fans’ preferences are — everyone around here loves good classic rock, classic country and the new country sounds such as Lee Brice and Little Big Town (both of whom are on our schedule this summer).  

NDN: Anything new this year to the concert series from the past?

Harrison: Not really. It’s a solid mix of classic rock and country shows. However, we have tried for several years to bring in Sammy Hagar and it just never worked that he was in our part of the country at the right time. It worked out for 2014. So we’re very excited about finally having the “Red Rocker” come to Downstream. We use his song from Van Halen days, “Right Now,” as a kind of theme song for the Downstream Team. It is a very uplifting, powerful song and it gets our juices flowing and feeling positive.  

NDN: How do you get these bands, is it by guests comments or etc.?

Harrison: Yes, we listen to our guests, and we have learned the type of concert acts that they like. We use the help of a national concert promoter/producer, Resorts Entertainment Inc., with offices in Nashville and on the coasts. Every year we look at the lists of available touring concerts and then think about the dates we want to cover and it all comes together.

NDN: In the past, you have also held a series inside the casino, will that the case this year?

Harrison: Two things — 1) We have concerts year-round, but in the colder months from November through May, we present smaller shows inside at the Pavilion. And 2), we are still running our free Dirt Road Live concert series on the Legends Stage inside the casino, once a month. The Dirt Road Live series acts are mostly Nashville or national recording acts in the “red dirt” our “country rock” genres. On June 25, we will have Erik Dylan;  July 31 is Cowboy Troy;  we don’t have August’s show ready yet, but we will continue with the free Dirt Road Live series, sponsored by Coors/Miller Lite.

NDN: How pleased is Downstream Casino Resort to host this concert series?

Harrison: Oh, we love putting on great concerts. It’s a lot of work, but it’s some of the most fun we have all year. The same is true for Downstream’s guests. You can’t beat a good concert, especially when we luck out with pleasant weather, since these are outdoor shows at The Venue.