The Academy of Country Music has named Hard Rock Live the winner of its prestigious 2020 Casino of the Year — Theater Award. The 45,000-square-foot, 2,700-seat venue, formerly known as the Joint, is located in Tulsa’s Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. The award will be presented in August.
Hard Rock Live was among four other casinos nominated for the honor, which is presented to an “outstanding theater within a casino.” Although the venue has garnered five previous nominations for an ACM Casino of the Year Award, this will be its first win.
“It’s incredibly humbling to be recognized nationally by this industry institution,” says Martin Madewell, Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Tulsa general manager.
The Doobie Brothers were the first act to play the theater when it opened in 2010. Since then, Hard Rock Live has hosted acts as diverse as KISS and Stevie Wonder to Bob Dylan and Ringo Starr. Country performances include icons like Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson, as well as a younger generation of artists such as Chris Stapleton and Jon Pardi. Oklahomans Vince Gill, Reba McEntire and Blake Shelton have all graced the stage.
Hard Rock Live is a favorite of musicians, not only for the acts it attracts, but also for the facility itself.
“It’s a magnificent room,” says Oklahoma musician John Cooper. “It’s state-of-the-art. The stage, the seating, the audio — it all makes for a great fan experience.”