Happy Valley Jam cues up a new tune for Beaver Stadium

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- For one day in July, the soundtrack at Penn State’s Beaver Stadium is being refreshed.

Gone are “Sweet Caroline” and “Seven Nation Army,” replaced for one night by the country sounds of Blake SheltonChris Young and Big & Rich.

For the first time in Beaver Stadium history, the home to Penn State football since 1960, a concert will be the main attraction. From day into night, the Happy Valley Jam will bring a new energy July 8, signifying an evolving vision for what Beaver Stadium means to Central Pennsylvania. 

“To be on the field at Beaver Stadium enjoying country music with some of your family or friends, what a great way to spend a Saturday night in Happy Valley,” said Cory Chapman, assistant athletic director and general manager of Beaver Stadium and Pegula Ice Arena.

A Beaver Stadium configured for a concert offers a north end zone stage and capacity for 70,000 concert-goers with room for 8,000 seats on the field, according to Chapman. So far, tickets have been sold to fans in 42 states.

Chapman, who arrived at Penn State in 2015, assumed a newly created position in Intercollegiate Athletics. With experience in staging stadium shows while in facility operations and event management at the University of Minnesota, he took on the task of using Beaver Stadium as an asset that he said fits with Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour’s vision of creating “conditions for success."

The foray into concerts, plus the proposed stadium improvements in Athletics’ 20-year Facilities Master Plan, signals a vision of a multi-use Beaver Stadium that could one day host a professional hockey game or an international soccer match, according to Chapman. 

More than a year ago, discussions started about the ideal inaugural concert for Beaver Stadium, he said. Working with the Iowa-based Basis Entertainment, organizers determined that a country show was best for the central Pennsylvania market. He said Penn State is building a brand with Happy Valley Jam, creating an event that could host a changing lineup each year.

Shelton will have the distinction of being the first person to headline a concert at Beaver Stadium. A coach on NBC's hit singing competition "The Voice," Shelton won the Country Music Association's Male Vocalist of the Year award five times from 2010 to 2014 and boasts 22 No. 1 singles on the country chart. 

“The concert is unprecedented for Beaver Stadium and probably for its two predecessors (Beaver Field) as well,” said Penn State historian Lee Stout, author of “Lair of the Lion: A History of Beaver Stadium.” Other than commencement ceremonies, which were held in Beaver Stadium from 1960 to 1984, the field was protected out of concerns for the natural grass turf, he said.

For Happy Valley Jam, the ground will be under a protective cover, but Chapman anticipates that at least a partial replacement of the sod will be required, a common practice after stadium shows.

As the event approaches, a promotional blitz will be hitting the region, including ad spots in 39 radio markets across the state, according to Chapman. Happy Valley Jam opener Adley Stump will perform at the Central Pennsylvania 4th Fest on July 4 in State College, and Pennsylvania native Ben Gallaher will perform during Downtown State College’s First Friday event on July 7 (https://www.downtownstatecollege.com/first-friday/).

Tickets and parking passes for Happy Valley Jam are available at http://www.happyvalleyjam.com/.

Last Updated June 16, 2017