NC native, country singer Chase Rice to perform during Azalea Fest

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Chase Rice will perform April 9 at the Azalea Festival's downtown outdoor venue. Courtesy photo.
Chase Rice will perform April 9 at the Azalea Festival’s downtown outdoor venue. Courtesy photo.

A North Carolina boy is returning to his home state to perform during this year’s N.C. Azalea Festival.

Festival organizers announced Wednesday that country star Chase Rice will headline a show as part of the 2016 festivities, set for April 6-10 downtown and across the Port City. Fellow country singer Kane Brown will open the show.

Rice will perform on the Belk Main Stage–the site for headlining musical artists on the Cape Fear Community College Campus at 411 N. Front St.–on Saturday, April 9. It’s the same outdoor venue on which The Avett Brothers will perform two days prior.

Born in Florida, Rice was raised on a farm in Asheville and later attended UNC-Chapel Hill, where he was a linebacker on the university’s football team.

After college, he worked for a stint with a NASCAR pit crew before being selected as a cast member on the CBS reality show, “Survivor: Nicaragua.” Rice finished in second place in the competition but his appearance on the show–during which he performed one of his songs–helped fast-track his music career.

He made his major label debut in 2014 with “Ignite the Night,” which hit number one on the country charts. Throughout his career, his Tarheel roots have remained close to his heart, giving nods to his alma mater and even Wrightsville Beach in his hit, “Carolina Can.”

With a new album expected this year, the 29-year-old is getting ready to hit the road this month on a months-long international tour.

Tickets to his show in the Port City are $36.50. They’ll be available for purchase online on Saturday, Jan. 23. Sales at the N.C. Azalea Festival Ticket Office, 5725 Oleander Drive, Suite B-7, will begin on Monday, Jan. 25.