Houston Rodeo announces major upgrades to rotating stage

HOUSTON – Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo officials on Tuesday revealed the new look to the festival's famous rotating stage.

In true Texas fashion, the new stage is in the shape of a five-point star with a 48-foot-diameter rotating central stage. Each point of the star has an arm length of 36 feet and a base length of 23 feet, and each one can be raised and lowered to create an elevated performance platform. 

President and CEO of Houston livestock show and rodeo Joel Cowley says they've sent the designs out to agents and managers of performers and gotten this feedback

"We've been thinking about this for a couple of years and thought this was a great time to roll out a new stage," Cowley said

The stage, which is elevated 7 feet from the floor of the arena, also features a 22-foot-tall LED screen that will serve as the backdrop of the performance.

"We certainly wanted it to rotate so that everyone in there has a view of the star while they're performing, Cowley said. “We thought the LED backdrop was certainly something we wanted to maintain but we also wanted a way to get the star closer to the audience"

The announcement was accompanied by a dramatic video that showed how the star-shaped stage will work.

"Those five star points can be moved all at once or individually. They'll drop all the way to the floor, they'll also elevate so the entertainer can perform from an elevated position as well," Cowley said.

Officials said this is the first redesign of the stage in more than 30 years.

"It makes the stadium more intimate, it gives our entertainers much more latitude with regard to the type of presentation they put forth for their fans and it's greatly going to enhance the fan experience as well," Cowley said.

Country music artist Garth Brooks will be the first performer to play on the new stage. He will open the rodeo on Feb. 27, 2018, and close it on March 18, 2018. Tickets for those concerts will go on sale at 10 a.m. Sept. 9.

The remaining concert lineup will be announce in January, officials said.

"It's going to be a game-changer. Because a lot of these acts, they travel with their own stage and their own set now and with this piece of equipment and the 22 foot tall motion controlled LED backdrop, they'll be able to do their performance without bringing their set," Cowley said.

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About the Author:

Aaron Barker has been a senior digital editor at KPRC 2 since 2016. As a meteorologist, he specializes in stories about the weather. He has covered Hurricane Harvey, the Astros first World Series win, the Santa Fe High School shooting, the ITC fire and Tropical Storm Imelda.