The program has been around since 2011 but has increased its reach and offerings in recent years to include popular performers such as The Strumbellas, Valerie June, The Rua, NEEDTOBREATHE and Blue October, which treated an Austin to Phoenix flight with their single, “Home.”
Passengers are usually not aware that they’re on a Live at 35 flight until the flight is in the air. Typically the bands are set up at the front of the plane and play two songs. Sometimes they’ll serenade fans and sign autographs, too.
“A lot of times when we’re starting to set up people are wondering what’s going on,” said Southwest spokeswoman Alyssa Eliasen, who has participated in Live at 35 flights in the past. “People pull out iPads, iPhones, they’re capturing the music. We want people to share their experience.”
Southwest typically offers one Live at 35 performance a month. The most recent performance occurred earlier this month when country artist Devin Dawson flew from Nashville to Philadelphia and performed his new single, “All on Me,” from the air.
Dawson’s performance coincided with an announcement from Warner Music Nashville naming Southwest its Airline of Record and a commitment from both companies to fortify the Live at 35 concert series, which will sometimes include WMN artists.