Riverbend officials knew they had a solid hit when they signed Florida Georgia Line to play the 2013 festival. They didn't realize at the time, however, that the bases were loaded and that the ball would easily clear the wall.
The crowd for the show, booked on the second largest stage at the festival, turned out to be the largest Bud Light Stage audience ever, according to Talent and Production Coordinator Joe "Dixie" Fuller.
To make things even better, Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley were booked about a week before their song "Cruise" really took off. That meant, of course, that their price for future dates suddenly came with an extra zero. But Hubbard and Kelley insisted on honoring all previously signed contracts, so Riverbend not only had a big night, it came at a bargain price.
"We try to be men of our word, so any commitments we'd made, we stayed to those commitments," Kelley says.
The duo has continued its meteoric rise and will perform during a sold-out show Wednesday at Track 29. This one is a benefit for the Forgotten Child Fund.
Kelley says the duo has been hitting it hard since releasing "Cruise" in 2012. The song hit the Top 10 in 14 weeks, something no duo had done since Brooks & Dunn debuted "Brand New Man" in 1991.
Since then, they've rerecorded it with rapper Nelly, and that song, along with four other new tracks, are included on "Here's to the Good Times ... This Is How We Roll," a deluxe version of the No. 1 selling album.
They've also earned a bunch of awards and award nominations, including Single of the Year for "Cruise" and Duo of the Year at the 47th annual CMA Awards earlier this month.
Hubbard, from Monroe, Ga., and Kelley, from Ormond Beach, Fla., met at Belmont University in Nashville. Kelley says the two are enjoying the whirlwind they've been on, but they are also busy writing new material and eager to get back into the studio.
"It's definitely going to have that Florida Georgia sound," he says. "We are looking to progress that sound, but you have to know it is us when it comes on the radio."
Contact Barry Courter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6354.