On April 23, country music star Kenny Chesney performed at Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium — and it’s fair to say that he tore the place up. Chesney and various guests performed at the “Music and Miracles Festival,” one of the first concerts ever at Jordan-Hare. The goal was to raise a million dollars to fight hunger and cancer. And it was a party. More than 50,000 people were there.
“Sometimes,” Chesney said after it was over, “you feel the energy long before you hit the stage.”
With all that energy, yeah, the field took a significant beating.
The Auburn grounds crew then announced via Twitter that they would resod the field at the end of May and get things back to normal in plenty of time for football. The story could have died there.
But, of course, stories don’t really die too quickly these days. I mean: Look at that field. First came the comments and the talk about how the flooring was kept down the whole time. Then came the backlash toward Chesney. There’s no need to explain just how holy the Jordan-Hare Stadium field is to Auburn football fans. When people saw the after photos — even though it is months until the season opener against Clemson — well let’s just say things were said.
Chesney, a big football fan who wrote the song “The Boys of Fall” about high school football in his town, was pretty troubled by the whole thing. See, Auburn had always planned on resodding the field after the concert. That was obviously the strategy after inviting Chesney to perform in the first place.
“The plan to host Kenny Chesney at Jordan-Hare Stadium always included a full field replacement following the event,” Auburn associate AD for Operation Jeremy Roberts said. “And the field cover strategy we approved took this into consideration.”
“The plan the school had in place,” concert production manager Ed Wannebo says, “had nothing to do with this concert … the sod was being torn out regardless.”
Ah well, what is it that Chesney sings in “The Boys of Fall?”
It’s knockin’ heads and talkin’ trash
It’s slingin’ mud and dirt and grass