NASCAR fans and R&B, country, and rock fans alike have converged on Center City for the 19th annual Food Lion Speed Street, which serves as a run-up to the big Coca-Cola 600 race on Sunday. Here’s a rundown of some of the highlights of this year’s festival.
NASCAR A-listers will be signing autographs all three days. Stars include Richard Petty (1:15 p.m. Friday), Joey Logano and Ryan Newman (at 7 p.m. Friday), Tony Stewart and Danica Patrick (at 7 p.m. Saturday), and many others. Line up early to grab a wristband, which will guarantee you access – most drivers are only available for a couple of hours.
Randy Houser and Jamey Johnson perform Friday at 7:45 and 9:30 p.m., respectively; and Sister Hazel and Survivor close out the festival Saturday at 8:15 and 9:45 p.m. Speed Street also exposes homegrown talent to massive crowds.
Mooresville’s Landon Parker Band – the Race to Stardom contest’s country winner – opens at 6 p.m. Friday. Chris Sanchez gets things started on Saturday at 2:30 p.m., followed by ’80s hard rock tribute Hair Nation at 4, Race to Stardom’s rock winner Blu Avenue at 5:30, and Chelsea Bain at 6:30.
“We’re putting a greater focus on Tryon Street and family interactive opportunities,” says event promoter/producer Jay Howard.
Changes include the Cooking Stage now on Tryon, where food trucks will create a food court, and the Kids’ Zone now on the Levine Center for the Arts campus. There are also activities along the street toward the heart of the festival, near the NASCAR Hall of Fame and the Coca-Cola Stage. The latter – at Caldwell Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard – is now the only stage for live music.
“Our entertainment setting has worked so well at the Hall of Fame. It’s such a fitting scene that we’ve put more headliners on the Coca-Cola Stage and taken our late-night focus and put it down there,” says Howard, noting that much of the action is now closer to the light rail line.
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