Nov. 29 2016 07:30 AM

Music event announces first headliner, shorter festival

UPDATE: This story was updated to include quotes from Meridian Entertainment Group.

Common Ground 2016 was just a few months ago, but the music festival has already confirmed its first headliner for 2017. Country star Toby Keith was announced today as headliner for July 7.

For its 18th annual event, Common Ground is shortening the festival. In recent years, the festival has been a six-day, Tuesday-through-Sunday event. The 2017 festival offers just four days: Thursday, July 6 through Sunday, July 9. Jenna Meyer, marketing director for Meridian Entertainment Group, which organizes the festival, said the decision was based on calendar concerns and for financial reasons.

“It’s the way the Fourth of July fell,” she explained, noting that the holiday falls on a Tuesday this year. “We decided to do four days and bring in some bigger names, rather than try to get people in on a holiday.”

Keith is known for blue collar anthems like “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue,” “I Love This Bar” and “Beer for My Horses,” his duet with country legend Willie Nelson. The singer, who released his self-titled debut album in 1993, has recorded 18 studio albums, including nine albums that topped the U.S. country charts, and has put out 20 No. 1 country singles. In July, Keith recently released his latest single, "A Few More Cowboys," which follows his successful 2015 album, “35 MPH Town.” Festival passes and single day tickets for July 7 go on sale Friday at 10 a.m.

While the festival has not announced any other headliners, Meyer said each night will be built around a different genre. In recent years, country music and hip hop have drawn the largest crowds.

“The festival has some genres that perform better than others, so you’ll probably see those,” she said. “But it really depends on what acts are touring and available.”

Meyer wouldn’t say whether the switch to a four-day festival is a one-year scheduling glitch or a permanent change.

“It’s always a fluid plan,” she said. “It depends on how this year goes.”

Common Ground Music Festival

July 6-9

Adado Riverfront Park

201 E. Shiawassee St., Lansing

(517) 267-1502,