Shellabration’s long wait rewarded

FORT DODGE – Five months, two weeks, four days, multiple offers and many sleepless nights later, Shellabration finally has a band for Shellabration 2014.

In the words of Shellabration President, Jim Reed “Is it ever a good one. It is with high excitement and a sense of relief that we announce Lynyrd Skynyrd as headliner.”

This year represents the latest date the organization has ever confirmed their headliner. Prior to 2014, March 6 had been the previous latest they landed a band when booking Foreigner in 2012.

“It’s not a record we aspired to break. That said, we never wavered. We stayed the course, worked our pecking order and here we are, having booked one of the top artists on our list. Life is good.”

With the band booking part of the process behind them, Shellabration now goes into high gear recruiting sponsors for the event.

“The amount of time it took to confirm an artist has greatly reduced the window of time we have to court potential sponsors. Hopefully interested parties will respond quickly,” said Reed. The late artist confirmation isn’t the only organizational record being set this year. The cost to produce Shellabration 2014 will approach $225,000 breaking last year’s total of just more than $167,000.

“This year’s show is a proving ground of sorts for us,” Reed said. “The number of tickets we sell will help us determine whether or not our market can financially sustain shows of this magnitude and bigger yet. We’re sure hoping it can.”

Lynyrd Skynyrd is credited with bringing vast popularity to the southern rock genre. They are best known for their driving live shows and most identified by their signature songs “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Free Bird.” Other notable Skynyrd standards include “What’s Your Name,” “Gimme Three Steps,” “Saturday Night Special,” “Call Me the Breeze,” Tuesday’s Gone” and “That Smell.” The Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame band has a catalog of over 60 albums, more than 30 million units sold worldwide with their classic American rock anthem “Sweet Home Alabama” having sold more than 2 million ring tones.

Tragedy beset the band in 1977 in which a plane crash claimed the lives of three of its members including Ronnie Van Zant and Steve Gaines. After a 10 year absence from touring, the band reformed in 1987 including Gary Rossington with Johnny Van Zant, younger brother of Ronnie, stepping in to the lead vocal role that his brother once held. Currently led by core members Gary Rossington (guitar), Johnny Van Zant (vocals) and Rickey Medlocke (guitar), the band recently recorded a new studio album entitled “Last of a Dying Breed” continuing the legacy that started over 35 years ago in Jacksonville, Fla.

Tickets for Lynyrd Skynyrd at Rogers Sports Complex in Fort Dodge go on sale Saturday. They are $36 in advance and will increase to $45 beginning on July 21 leading up to the show on Friday, Aug. 1 . Tickets can be purchased online at www.ticketweb.com or by phone at 866-468-3401. Tickets will also be available for purchase at local Fort Dodge ticket sales locations including Hy-Vee and Hy-Vee Drug Store. Kids 12 years of age and under are admitted free and all tickets are general admission with festival style seating.

Shellabration Inc. is a tax exempt 501(c)4 non-profit organization consisting exclusively of unpaid board members and volunteers. The organization’s mission is to make a positive contribution to the quality of life and the economic development of the greater Fort Dodge area through the delivery of exciting, family-friendly entertainment and performing arts options. In years when a profit is realized, 100 percent of the net proceeds remain within the organization and are used to help stage additional events like Oktoberfest, to attract bigger headliners each year and to perpetuate the organization’s mission in down financial years. More information regarding either the event or organization is available at www.shellabration.org or by calling Jim Reed at 515-570-0176.