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Country music star Eric Church returning to Grand Forks' REA

Eric Church plays April 7, 2015, at Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks. Photo by Grand Forks Herald.

Award-winning country music artist Eric Church is returning early next year to Ralph Engelstad Arena, where he set an attendance record in 2015.

"He's one of the hottest acts on the face of the Earth today and he's got a great, loyal fan base," said Jody Hodgson, general manager at REA. "We think his second appearance at The Ralph is going be every bit of successful as the first."

Grand Forks is one of more than 60 cities that are part of Church's Holdin' My Own tour, which will make a stop at The Ralph on Jan. 15.

In Church's first visit to REA on April 7, 2015 concert, the musician established an attendance record at the arena. Officials would not release attendance numbers but said the concert eclipsed a mark previously set by Elton John in 2012.

The new tour will also visit Sioux Falls, S.D. and Minneapolis in January before wrapping up with a two-night stand in late May in Nashville, Tenn.

"For the first time ever, there will be no support act on this tour," according to Church's website, "Eric and the ECB will play two full sets of music with an intermission in between."

Ticket information for the general public has not been announced yet, but Church's website said fans who are apart of the musician's fan club can purchase pre-sale tickets, which will be available at 11 a.m. Sept. 9 through Sept. 11. To buy pre-sale tickets, fans must register by Aug. 23.

Church, known for such songs as "Springsteen," "Creepin'" and "Homeboy," received six American Country Music nominations in 2015, with his most recent album, "Mr. Misunderstood," being nominated for Album of the Year. Previously, he won new solo vocalist of the year in 2010, vocal event and album of the year in 2012, as well as the Jim Reeves International Award in 2014.

During the past few years, Grand Forks has played host to some of country music's biggest stars, with Church, Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Carrie Underwood and Florida Georgia Line all performing in the city.

Church's concert, which is on a Sunday, follows a weekend hockey series where the UND men's hockey team takes on NCHC-rival Miami University on Friday and Saturday night.

"We think we'll have three nights in a row where we'll be packed," Hodgson said. "It'll be a great way to warm up in mid-January."

Herald editor Steve Wagner contributed to this report.

Wade Rupard

Wade Rupard is a reporter for The Grand Forks Herald. Rupard is a 2014 graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism and is originally from Normal, Ill. 

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