The NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four championship is just over a week away, and this year’s host city, New Orleans, will host a free concert series during the event. Jimmy Buffett, the Black Keys and Kiss all will perform on different days in downtown New Orleans’ Woldenberg Park.
The series of shows will be known as “The Big Dance Concert Series,” and legendary rockers Kiss will start things off with a set on Friday, March 30. The band hasn’t played the Crescent City since 2009.
Up next will be the Black Keys, which will perform the following day, March 31. Riding high on the recent release of the El Camino album, the NCAA selected the band’s song “Gold on the Ceiling” as the theme for all of the March Madness television ads promoting the college basketball championships. The band also recently appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine and played a show at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
Finally, Gulf Coast native Jimmy Buffett will close things down on Sunday, April 1. The “Margaritaville” singer commonly appears at the city’s New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and is reported to be a big fan of the New Orleans Saints football team.
A recent concert at Woldenberg Park by Mary J. Blige and Gavin DeGraw drew an estimated crowd of around 10,000 people, and organizers believe that if the weather is good throughout the weekend, “The Big Dance Concert Series” will likely bring a crowd at least that large.
The Final Four itself will be played at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in the city from March 31 to April 2. In addition to the concerts, a multitude of other events are planned for the weekend, including a sports forum aimed at high school students, a sports writing workshop and a youth life skills camp. The NCAA is teaming up with the National Association of Basketball Coaches to bring 2,012 pairs of shoes and 2,012 box lunches to needy families.