Electric Rodeo

RodeoHouston Shows Off A Bigger, Brighter New Stage For 2018

The new stage in all its glory.
The new stage in all its glory. Photo courtesy of Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
There are a lot of things about RodeoHouston that are massive: the stadium where the Rodeo is held; the amount of money they hand out; the Ferris wheel; the corn dogs. With no disrespect to a workhorse that served well over the past 30+ years, what was not massive was the rotating stage that the musical performers have stood on in the middle of NRG Stadium. It was big, in comparison to many a stage, but sitting there in the middle of the dirt field it always looked more like a drop in a brown sea rather than a grand platform of entertainment.

That changes in 2018. When Garth Brooks kicks off the 2018 RodeoHouston music performances, he’ll be doing it on a massive new stage the Rodeo unveiled on Friday. The new stage is 126 feet wide, with five star points extending out toward the crowd that can be raised and lowered as necessary; don’t worry, the middle of the stage still rotates, and the rotating platform area has been increased to 48 feet.

Numbers sound good on paper, but seeing it in real life will likely make you pause and think, “yes, this is the stage that RodeoHouston deserves.” As previously mentioned, it’s not that the old stage was bad, it was just a little small for the room that it was in, especially for some of the largest concerts Houston hosts every year. But this stage looks good, obviously built with NRG Stadium in mind.

But as Rodeo officials were quick to point out, this isn’t just about updating the stage; it’s about updating the entire performance. In addition to the stage, they’ve updated the number of hanging lights, put in a new aerial camera and added bigger screens above the stage to enhance fans enjoyment of the concerts. The end result is a stage that looks as modern as any touring stage you’ll see at NRG this year while still feeling distinctly Rodeo-y.
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Members of RodeoHouston showing off the new movable parts of the stage.
Photo by Cory Garcia.
That’s not the end of the new over at RodeoHouston this year. In addition to all the performance upgrades, here’s a look at what else is new for 2018:

Captioning on Mobile: Don’t have a good view of the Rodeo’s open captioning system from your seats? Using your mobile devices, you’ll be able to view the captions in the palm of your hand by going to rodeohouston.com/captions.
Lyft: Getting a ride to the Rodeo? Lyft is the Rodeo’s rideshare partner this year, and the new drop-off/pick-up location for rideshares is located at Gate 13D off Murworth.
Rides: There are four new rides to experience at the carnival: Extreme, a velocity swing that goes up 65 feet in the air; Flying Jumbo, which lets you control the height of the elephant you’re in; Rockin’ Rodeo, a two-story mirror maze; and Konga, a bench ride that includes a water feature.
The Old Stage: While it may not be the center of attention anymore, a piece of the stage will be on display for all your selfie needs.
Gonzo247: Street art favorite Gonzo247 will have a piece called The Four Pillars of Rodeo on display; the four pillars, if you didn’t know, are Agriculture, Education, Entertainment and Western Heritage.
Food: New options include Fruteria Cano, The Original Minneapple Pie, Get Fried (who, among other things, will be serving up Fruity Pebbles shrimp on a stick) and Totally Baked.
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Cory Garcia is a Contributing Editor for the Houston Press. He once won an award for his writing, but he doesn't like to brag about it. If you're reading this sentence, odds are good it's because he wrote a concert review you don't like or he wanted to talk pro wrestling.
Contact: Cory Garcia