Local up-and-coming country artist describes how The Hideout at rodeo helped give him exposure

ByCarolina Olivares KTRK logo
Tuesday, March 7, 2023
Rodeo performer describes how The Hideout has helped give him exposure
It's week two of the Houston rodeo! And if you like to have a good time, we have just the spot for you to enjoy what rodeo officials are calling an after-party with up-and-coming country artists.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The number one question RodeoHouston officials say they get at the carnival is, "Where's The Hideout?"

If you like to have a good time, The Hideout is what people are describing as an after-party with local artists.

To name a few popular artists who became big names after performing at The Hideout are the Eli Young Band, Keith Urban, and Blake Shelton.

If you've never been and don't know what to expect, an up-and-coming country artist put it fairly simple.

"Expect to party," Bubba Westly said.

Twenty-one years ago, a honky tonk was born inside a white tent for rodeo goers to go to and dance the night away. It was developed out of a conversation between a group of volunteers.

"Back in the 90s, we didn't have all this outdoor entertainment like we do now. We had a carnival, but we didn't have food and booze so this was a novel idea," Mike DeMarco, the chief of show operations at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, said.

Originally, it was called The Tent Club, according to DeMarco, but after some time, one of the volunteers said it needed a better name.

"It was funny because we weren't getting a lot of attendance the first few days, and then one of them said, 'Well, this is a great place for you to hide out,'" DeMarco said.

And that's when the name for the tent was born.

So who can guests expect to see at The Hideout?

"A lot of folks who are just unknown at the time," DeMarco said.

Early in her career, none other than Shania Twain blew the crowd away when she performed at The Hideout in 1999.

"She was absolutely not known. She sang two quick songs, and we were standing there just absolutely mesmerized. The lady that did our talent booking said, 'We're going to book her because she's going to be something,'" DeMarco said.

For Bubba Westly, this isn't his first rodeo. It's actually his second.

"This is an event that I tried to get on to for years, and I finally got the opportunity, so I'm glad to be asked for a second time back," he said. "It's something that you dream of. I grew up going to the Houston rodeo as a kid. I never envisioned myself in this position, so this means a lot."

Bubba said he hopes he can make an impression on the guests who see him perform on Thursday, March 16.

"It's crowded, but it brings that vibe. It brings that concert feel. You're going to have a good time."

The Hideout is the only place the rodeo has a space for people to dance.

The best part is it's free for anyone 21 and up with a grounds or concert ticket. It's located in a white tent on the west side of NRG Arena.