June 19, 2018
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Country musicians Kellie Pickler, Rodney Atkins coming to Lewiston

By Daniel Hartill, Sun Journal

LEWISTON, Maine — A Dec. 17 concert at the Colisee will feature a pair of rising country music stars, Kellie Pickler and Rodney Atkins.

The pair, who have had more than 20 songs between them on Billboard’s country music charts, will share billing for the show. Tickets go on sale Friday morning.

“This is a great show for the area,” promoter Alex Gray of Maine-based Waterfront Concerts said Tuesday. “Rodney and Kellie are both solid players in the up-and-coming country market.”

The 4,100-seat Androscoggin Bank Colisee is hoping to sell out the show, said Jim Mercier, box office manager of the Lewiston hockey arena.

“It’s right in the middle of December, so it’s crunch time for us,” he said. “We’re expecting a big crowd.”

The show marks the second major country concert of the year for the Colisee. In March, Dierks Bentley performed there to a near-capacity crowd.

This concert has a chance of being bigger. Country radio station WPOR is sponsoring the show as its 2011 Jingle Jam, the latest in a string of heavily promoted annual shows.

“We’re really pumped,” said Cary Pahigian, president and general manager of WPOR and several other Portland-area radio stations. The December concert began being advertised on the station Monday, as well as on its website and social media such as Facebook. “WPOR does everything at 60 miles an hour.”

The choice to hold the concert in Lewiston, a first for the decade-old Jam promotions, was based on demographics and the strength of the Colisee, Pahigian said.

“It’s a great venue,” he said. “And we have a ton of listeners in the area.”

The two performers are also a likely draw.

Atkins, 42, first hit the charts in 2002 and broke out four years later with the title track of his album, “If You’re Going Through Hell.” That song and two others from the 2006 album hit No. 1.

“Rodney has a bunch of hits and is coming off two weeks at No. 1 with his latest single [‘Take a Back Road’],” Gray said.

Pickler may be even more famous.

The 25-year-old singer first became a celebrity in 2006 on “American Idol.” She made it to the show’s final six contestants and was known for a seemingly ditsy-but-guileless personality. Though she has fewer hits than Atkins, she has co-written a hit with Taylor Swift called “Best Days of Your Life” and seems to appear on every TV channel.

“She seems to be on every talk show, cooking show or the like these days,” Gray said.

Plans for the Lewiston concert are still coming together, Gray said. At least one more act is expected to be named at a later date.

The promoter said bringing known acts to Maine is getting easier.

“Booking acts is never an easy task,” Gray said. “But we have a story to tell with our recent string of successes in Maine and the acts are more consistently looking to play here, so it is easier than it has been in past years when Maine was very gray as music went.”

The Colisee is working to fill its calender with events.

Local entertainer Nick Knowlton has scheduled a “Cos Tomb” party for Oct. 29 featuring the acts Terry & the Telstars, Veggies by Day and The Girls of LA.

A metal rock concert featuring the band Five Finger Death Punch is scheduled for Dec. 3. And Knowlton is planning a New Year’s Eve event.

Tickets for Pickler and Atkins go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday and will cost between $21.75 and $47.75.

To see more from the Sun Journal, visit sunjournal.com.

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