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Country star Carrie Underwood returns to headline 2014 Stadium of Fire

Published March 19, 2014 11:03 am

Fourth of July • Iraq war veteran J.R. Martinez will emcee, Laura Bush will be keynote speaker.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Provo • Country star Carrie Underwood will headline the 2014 Stadium of Fire show, officials of the Fourth of July event said Tuesday.

It's a return engagement for Underwood, who headlined the patriotic extravaganza in 2010.

"We've had such a groundswell for her," said Steve Shallenberger, president of America's Freedom Festival, the organization behind the event.

It's the first time a Stadium of Fire headliner has come back to do it again, Shallenberger said, after making the announcement at LaVell Edwards Stadium on the Brigham Young University campus, where the concert will be staged.

In surveys of fans after past shows, Underwood was the No. 1 pick for another performance, Shallenberg said, adding, "she will just bring them to their feet."

Underwood's career has mushroomed since winning "American Idol" in 2005. She has sold 15 million albums, won six Grammys, and was the first female artist to win the Academy of Country Music's Entertainer of the Year honor twice. She sings the opening theme song to NBC's "Sunday Night Football," and made headlines last December portraying Maria Von Trapp in a live TV production of "The Sound of Music."

Emcee for the show is J.R. Martinez, an Iraq war veteran and "Dancing With the Stars" season 13 champ. Martinez was injured in 2003 by a roadside bomb in Iraq, and he has recounted his painful recovery in motivational speeches and a best-selling book.

Also on the bill is the cast of the BYUtv comedy show "Studio C," a family-friendly sketch-comedy show that grew out of a BYU campus comedy troupe.

"Studio C" cast members would give no details on what they would perform during the show, but said they were not daunted by performing before a stadium of some 60,000 people.

"We have a lot of flexibility in what we can use in comedy," said cast member Whitney Call. "It can be an intimate experience, even in a stadium."

And the Stadium of Fire show will finish with what organizers brag is the biggest stadium fireworks show in the country.

Kicking off the week of Freedom Festival celebrations is the annual Patriotic Service, set for June 29. The keynote speaker for that event will be former first lady Laura Bush.

"She shares values that are common with our service, which are God, family, freedom and country," said Gary Garrett, chairman of the Patriotic Service.

A Utah County hero — skeleton racer Noelle Pikus-Pace, a silver medalist at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics — will be grand marshal for the Freedom Festival's Grand Parade, the morning of July 4th.

spmeans@sltrib.com

Twitter: @moviecricket —

Stadium of Fire

When • Friday, July 4, 2014.

Where • LaVell Edwards Stadium, Brigham Young University campus, Provo.

Tickets • $29-$175.

Details • Tickets go on sale to the general public on Friday, March 21, at 8 a.m. They will be sold simultaneously online at http://www.stadiumoffire.com, http://www.byutickets.com and at the BYU Marriott Center ticket office in Provo. Members of the Freedom Festival's email list will have the option to purchase tickets one day before the general public; go to http://www.freedomfestival.org to sign up.