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Country Music Festival could be bigger than Florida-Georgia game

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Updated: 8/07/2013 6:30 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It's a festival that's been a huge success at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge. And now, one of music's most successful promoters has his eye on EverBank Field to continue the yearly country music festival.

They are the biggest names in country music. Carrie Underwood. Garth Brooks. And plans are in place to get them all to perform at EverBank Field for what would be the Florida Country Megafest.

"I hope it's incredibly successful. I hope it just blows the doors off the place," said City Councilman Bill Gulliford.

He said Matthew Goldman, a top music promoter nationwide, reached out to Jacksonville to host the event. He said the plan is to make it annual.

"I think it sounds fabulous. We need more exciting things going on in the downtown area," said River City Gourmet Owner Sherry Lyford.

She said these are the events the city needs to put heads in beds and keep her cash register ringing.

Gulliford said there is potential for the event to be bigger than Florida/Georgia. And he told Action News the promoter is putting in upwards of $3 million to make it happen.

"I like those kinds of deals. Someone who's got a lot of skin in the game and he does have a lot but he's convinced that it will work," said Gulliford.

The catch is the city needs to put in its own $150,000 to help promote the event. It's money council hopes to take from the $500,000 SMG fund specifically there to promote events.

"I sure don't want to take it out of the general fund," Gulliford said.

Lyford said it's about time big promoters took notice of what the River City has to offer.

"We need the exposure. Jacksonville just has too much to offer," she said.

Gulliford said the council will vote on the funding at the next council meeting.

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