Final Four Dallas concerts feature Springsteen

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DALLAS (AP) - The Boss will close out three days of performances around the Final Four in Dallas that are part of a music festival that has evolved into a blockbuster event.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will take the stage Sunday at the NCAA March Madness Music Festival. Andrew Dost of the pop-rock trio fun., which will perform before Springsteen, said there’s a different kind of energy at performances that are part of the swirl of excitement surrounding major sporting events.

“I’m really excited just for the energy that will be in town, to be a part of that energy, and hopefully people can sing along and have some fun, have some really good moments,” said Dost, whose band’s hit songs include “We Are Young” and “Some Nights.”

And of course, he said, there’s the thrill of playing as part of a lineup that includes Springsteen, which he calls “a dream come true.” ”We definitely want to play as hard and as well and with as much intensity and joy as we possibly can because we’re sharing a stage with one of the greatest performers who has ever lived, so we want to live up to that as best we can,” he said.

The outdoor festival, which can hold a capacity of about 40,000, will be held at downtown Dallas‘ Reunion Park, which was once the site of Reunion Arena before it was demolished in 2009. The arena, former home to the Dallas Mavericks and Dallas Stars, hosted the Final Four in 1986. This year’s Final Four will be held at the massive stadium in nearby Arlington where the Dallas Cowboys play.

The festival started out as a one-day event in its first year and has expanded to three days of offerings, which in recent years have included Jimmy Buffett, Sting and Kenny Chesney.

Keith Martin, managing director of marketing and corporate alliances in championships for NCAA, said the star power has grown at festivals over the years, adding that they also try to bring artists that aim to appeal to a variety of tastes and ages for each festival.

“We try to have something for everyone,” he said.

About 175,000 people are expected to attend the concerts, said Shea Guinn, senior vice president of Turner Live Events, which is producing the music festival. He said they expect those attending the concerts to not only be those in town to attend the basketball games but also area residents.

“People can come and go, they may come to be a part of it in the afternoon and see artists in the afternoon that they like and enjoy the day out there and go to the games at night. People in Dallas who don’t have Final Four tickets will come and pack the park at night on Saturday,” Guinn said.

Guinn said that in the last several years it has evolved into something that “truly is a music festival at the highest level.”

The free festival kicks off with performances by acts including Jason Aldean, Jack Ingram, the Eli Young Band and The Wild Feathers. On Saturday, Tim McGraw, The Killers and LL Cool J will perform. In addition to Springsteen and fun., Sunday’s performances will include two Texas-based acts: country singer Pat Green and the duo The Wind and The Wave.

Green, no stranger to getting a crowd on its feet with hits including “Take Me Out to the Dancehall” and “Wave on Wave,” said after his performance he plans to be among the spectators when Springsteen takes the stage.

“I’ve been a fan all my life, as most of America has,” Green said.

The concerts will be streamed live.

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