Five touring acts to watch in 2008

Fri Dec 28, 2007 9:36pm EST
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By Ray Waddell

NASHVILLE (Billboard) - Look for these five artists to make a big splash on the touring scene in 2008.


Country duo Sugarland -- Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush -- experimented with headlining dates in 2007 in between opening for Kenny Chesney on the latter's massive Flip Flop summer tour. The pair headlined about 50 dates last year at theaters and downsized arenas, with seven shows reported to Billboard Boxscore totaling nearly $1 million.

"Touring for us is the most important thing," Sugarland manager Gail Gelman says. "We feel it's important to do it right, take it slow and make the right decisions along the way."

Sugarland will expand its international base by touring Australia in March and Europe in the fall. In the late spring it will play some cities it hasn't performed in yet in North America. The summer will include festivals, fairs, radio shows and special events. Another high-level support slot is still an option.

Chesney tour producer Louis Messina predicts Sugarland will be selling out arenas within two years.

"I have not felt this way since I saw Kenny 10 years ago," Messina says.


<p>Kristian Bush (L) and Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland hold their award for Vocal Duo of the Year in the photo room at the 41st annual Country Music Awards in Nashville, Tennessee November 7, 2007. REUTERS/Tami Chappell</p>