Hanging on the wall in John Graham's office are photos taken through the years with some of the biggest names in music. Soon, the director of the Frank Erwin Center will have a few more to add to his collection.
"They were looking around at different cities and this was one of them and Austin was a place they wanted to come," Graham tells FOX 7 about the 'iHeartRadio' Country Festival launched by Clear Channel Media and Entertainment.
The festival lineup includes: Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia Line, Eric Church, Lady Antebellum, Hunter Hayes, Carrie Underwood, Jake Owen, Dan + Shay and more. Organizers decided on Austin and the Erwin Center for the March 29 event.
"The folks from 'iHeart' came out on two different occasions to look things over," Graham said.
An indoor venue like the Erwin Center ensures that bad weather won't be a factor.
"I don't think you've probably ever seen anything quite like that at the Erwin Center with the television, with the festival component to it."
The festival has been in the works for months. Bama Brown and Bob Pickett from Austin's KVET 98.1 couldn't wait to make the announcement. "We are just so thrilled that 'I Heart' has chosen Austin for this, and it's along the same lines as ACL fest or any of the big concerts we have here, it establishes once again, what a great city Austin is," says Brown.
"Country is red hot right now," said Pickett. 'iHeartRadio' is a free digital radio service that lets you find more than 1,500 live stations or create your own. The festival is a way to get some of the artists heard on those stations on one stage.
Pickett says, "iHeart is the way of the future and we're excited."
Radio personality Bobby Bones from the nationally-syndicated Bobby Bones Show will host the festival. "I love Austin," Bones told FOX 7 over the phone from Nashville. "Even though I'm in Nashville and do this show. When it was coming down to what city to put it in, and it wasn't going to be Nashville, I thought, 'What better city than Austin?'"
Jeff Foxworthy recently announced that RedFest would take place at Circuit of the Americas May 23-25. The festival is a three-day celebration of country music, comedy, reality TV and outdoor fun. As country music experiences a rise in popularity across the nation, Austin is taking its country roots to a level never seen before.
"It's going to be a great year for country music in Austin," Pickett said.
Tickets for 'iHeartRadio' Country Festival go on sale January 18 at 11 a.m. Ticket prices should be published by next week.