The Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo revealed its 2016 lineup just after midnight on Monday, and among its mix of familiar veterans (Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley) and first-timers (Little Big Town, Shawn Mendes, Jason DeRulo) is a generational milestone of sorts for the show, which began in 1932 but started welcoming entertainers with singing cowboy Gene Autry a decade later.
Absent this year are any acts who broke through to stardom before the late 1990s, leaving the star with the most rodeo seniority as Brad Paisley, who will be making his tenth appearance since 2001. Next is Kenny Chesney, who also first played in 2001 and will be here for the eighth time.
Many of the biggest draws in the rodeo's history are well-represented this year. Of its Top 20 all-time paid concerts, returning this year are Aldean (No. 19); Bryan (Nos. 3, 10, 18); Florida Georgia Line (Nos. 15, 20); Paisley (No. 9) and Pitbull (Nos. 6, 16). Aldean’s March 2012 appearance is now the oldest date in the Top 20.
However, the 2016 freshman class represents more 25 percent of the lineup, including Go Tejano Day entertainers Los Huracanes del Norte and Banda Los Recoditos. Also making their rodeo debuts are Little Big Town, who debuted in 2002 but whose slow-burning career is cresting after the massive success of their controversial Grammy-nominated ballad “Girl Crush”; hip-hop/R&B singer Jason DeRulo, whose hits include “Wiggle,” “Want to Want Me,” and the new “Get Ugly”; Brett Eldredge, the 29-year-old Illinois native known for the Top 5 songs “Lose My Mind” and “Mean to Me”; Cole Swindell, a former frat brother of Luke Bryan’s whose own hits include “Ain’t Worth the Whiskey” and “I Hope You Get Lonely Tonight”; and teen sensation Shawn Mendes, the 17-year-old Canadian pop singer who began by covering the likes of Beyonce and Taylor Swift on Vine and is currently enjoying his first time in the Top 10 with the single “Stitches.”
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The full lineup is below, with the entertainers’ number of previous appearances in parentheses, and first-timers denoted with an “N.”
March 1 (First Responders Day): The Band Perry (4)
March 2 (Armed Forces Appreciation Day): Chris Young (2)
March 3: Jason Aldean (5)
March 4 (Black Heritage Day): Jason DeRulo (N)
March 5: Cole Swindell (N)
March 6: Shawn Mendes (N)
March 7: Miranda Lambert (4)
March 8: Pitbull (2)
March 9: Brett Eldredge (N)
March 10: Luke Bryan (4)
March 11: Darius Rucker (2)
March 12: Billy Currington (2)
March 13 (Go Tejano Day): Los Huracanes del Norte (N); Banda Los Recoditos (N)
March 14: Kenny Chesney (7)
March 15: Kid Rock (2)
March 16: Jake Owen (2)
March 17: Florida Georgia Line (2)
March 18: Little Big Town (N)
March 19: Brad Paisley (9)
March 20: Keith Urban (5)
Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. this Saturday, January 16 via rodeohouston.com, axs.com/rodeohouston, and the AXS Apple and Android apps; the online holding pen known as the “virtual waiting room” will open at 9:30 a.m. (Season tickets are on sale now.) However, after last year's bumpy rollout of the AXS-based ticketing system, the rodeo has also posted an instructional video to help fans navigate the process. It also recommends registering in advance for a MyAXS account to help ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible.