SIDNEY — Country Concert President Paul Barhorst spoke at The Sidney Rotary Club’s weekly meeting recently. Country Concert is the Midwest’s premier annual music and camping festival that brings superstar entertainment, camping, and fun-loving people together for a great time.
The event takes place at Hickory Hill Lakes, a 500-acre family-owned facility near Fort Loramie and attracts people from all over the nation.
This grass roots venue is now in its 39th year of entertainment, but its beginnings are humble.
“Country Concert started as an anniversary celebration for my parents,” Barhorst said. “It began as an annual camper party with local artists, food, and fun, but over the years it attracted so many people that we wondered what would happen if we went bigger.”
In 1981 they decided to hire national celebrities, including Louise Mandrel and R.C. Bannon. Now, 39 years later, Country Concert has surpassed their wildest expectations.
The facility holds 30,000 people. Last year the event attracted over 25,000. They also had attendees from 47 different states and seven countries.
“It’s great to see people from all different places and backgrounds come to Shelby County to have a good time,” Barhorst said.
The Barhorst family strives each year to bring the best talent and to have something for everybody. Their core audience gets to decide who the headliner is for the next year, Barhorst said.
“Our business model is unique, as we are a family business and only have one event a year,” he said. “We are always trying to raise the bar. To determine the line-up, we rely on a survey every year. We start at the top fan request and work our way down using the feedback of our fans.”
This year’s headliners are Kid Rock, Chris Stapleton, and Thomas Rhett. Other performers include Aaron Lewis, Carly Pearce, Gary Allen, and Dustin Lynch, among others. Local artists are also featured.
With the 40th anniversary coming up, the Barhorst family is already working toward 2020 to bring in upgrades, according to Barhorst. They have put in a new stage and have made major investments to improve the facility.
“We want to do what we can to attract the big talent and the people’s favorites to our festival here in Shelby County,” Barhorst said.
He also pointed out that the more people that attend, the more they support the local economy.
For more information on Country Concert, or to buy tickets, visit www.countryconcert.com.
The Sidney Rotary Club will be hosting a raffle for two three-day VIP passes with food, refreshments and backstage passes to Country Concert. The annual raffle ticket funds generated go into our Sidney Rotary Scholarship Fund and benefit graduating area seniors and the future leaders of tomorrow.
Visit Rotary Club of Sidney Facebook page or visit the club’s website for details, at www.sidneyrotaryclub.org.