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Chesney won't be in Pittsburgh in 2014; Heinz Field open to another 'major attraction'

| Friday, Aug. 2, 2013, 11:56 p.m.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
Trash cans overflow around the parking lots near Heinz Field before the Kenny Chesney concert on Saturday, June 22, 2013. Fans partied and tailgated for hours before the concert.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
Trash begins to pile up in the parking lots near Heinz Field before the Kenny Chesney concert on Saturday, June 22, 2013. Fans partied and tailgated for hours before the Kenny Chesney concert there.

The country music icon whose Heinz Field concert brought tons of garbage, controversy and scrutiny to the North Shore won't return in 2014.

Kenny Chesney won't tour at all next summer, the star told The Hollywood Reporter magazine. He intends to take the year off and focus on an album, his first hiatus from major summer tours since 2010.

“Music is the reason I do all of it,” Chesney told the magazine. “So right now, when I'm coming off an album that took me places I didn't know I was gonna go, I think that's what I should be exploring.”

Los Angeles-based AEG, which manages Chesney's shows, did not comment Friday.

Chesney's Heinz Field concerts since 2005 have become one of the biggest events for the venue. The June 22 show generated controversy when visitors left an estimated 60,000 pounds of garbage in parking areas around the stadium.

By some estimates, the mess was about five times that for a typical Steelers game. It took workers about 15 hours to collect trash and straighten up the lots — up from 12 hours the year before.

Police reported making 73 arrests and citations the day of the concert.

City officials then began talking about better event management for the next Chesney show, Public Safety Director Michael Huss said.

“Obviously, I guess that's not going to be necessary right now,” he said Friday.

A Heinz Field administrator called the hiatus a disappointment that will leave fans eager for a show in 2015. Another act could emerge in the meantime.

“With or without Kenny, we're always lobbying for major attractions to come to Heinz Field,” said Jimmie Sacco, executive director for stadium management.

“This opens it up for other artists to take a stab at playing Heinz Field.”

Country music fan Michael Logue, 40, of West Deer said he has no doubt Chesney will return. And he doesn't want all country music enthusiasts to be cast as slobs.

“That's stereotypical,” Logue said. “I go to several country concerts a year and there's never a mess like that left afterward.”

Adam Smeltz is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-380-5676 or asmeltz@tribweb.com.

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