The demand for live shows from Oliver Anthony isn’t diminishing. In fact, it seems there’s more demand than ever for the “Rich Men North of Richmond” singer who recently received an invite to perform at his old stomping grounds.
Full circle – Ending up in the same place you started. That’s exactly what has happened for viral singer Oliver Anthony who announced that he will be performing in the building that used to house the paper mill where he worked third shift ten years ago.
The Municipal Event Center in Marion, North Carolina, is located inside of a business complex that used to be the mill and has since been turned into an event venue.
Oliver Anthony’s breakout song, “Rich Men North of Richmond,” was inspired by his days working in the factory and the blue-collar workers he met there. In an introductory post on Facebook, the singer shared his history at the mill and how it influenced his songwriting.
“In 2010, I dropped out of high school at age 17. I have a GED from Spruce Pine, NC. I worked multiple plant jobs in Western NC, my last being at the paper mill in McDowell county. I worked 3rd shift, 6 days a week for $14.50 an hour in a living hell. In 2013, I had a bad fall at work and fractured my skull. It forced me to move back home to Virginia. Due to complications from the injury, it took me 6 months or so before I could work again,” Anthony wrote.
“From 2014 until just a few days ago, I’ve worked outside sales in the industrial manufacturing world. My job has taken me all over Virginia and into the Carolinas, getting to know tens of thousands of other blue collar workers on job sites and in factories. Ive spent all day, everyday, for the last 10 years hearing the same story.”
In recent weeks, Oliver Anthony found himself a hot topic of conversation after he canceled two Knoxville-area concerts.
Anthony was scheduled to perform at the Cotton Eyed Joe on September 27, but canceled after finding out the venue was charging $99 for tickets and $199 for meet and greets. In a video posted to social media, the viral singer told fans not to buy tickets for the show.
“I had to pull off on the side of the road and make this video. My adrenaline’s pumping, man,” Anthony said in the video. “Don’t buy Cotton Eyed Joe tickets for $99 dollars apiece. And sure as hell, don’t buy VIP passes for whatever (BS) price they’re on.”
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The venue fired back at Anthony, saying that ticket prices were determined based on the $120,000 price the singer’s manager had agreed to in the contract.
Cotton Eyed Joe stated Anthony had agreed to play for 60 minutes at the Knoxville bar for $120,000. “We set the ticket price to break even,” the venue wrote in a now-deleted social media post before ultimately canceling the show and warning other venues not to book the “Ain’t Got A Dollar” singer.
Anthony moved the concert to the Knoxville Convention Center, but that 2600-seat venue sold out in two hours. So, the singer again moved his Knoxville concert, this time to Smokies Stadium. According to its website, the stadium can seat 6,000 and has also sold out.
It’s likely that Oliver Anthony’s return to the North Carolina paper mill where he once worked will draw similar crowds. But, it will feel different than every concert before, just like it always does when one returns to a place filled with memories, good or bad.
Watch Oliver Anthony sing “Rich Men North of Richmond” with Jamey Johnson and Randy Hauser in Nashville below.