FORT LORAMIE — There was plenty of music, sunshine, skin, beer and love at the opening day of Country Concert 2019 on Thursday, July, 11. The weather was a perfect and breezy summer day to kick off 39th annual three-day country music festival in Fort Loramie.
The Barhorst family, including co-founder Mary Barhorst, welcomed the crowd before Carly Pearce, the opening act, came out to get the party started. Mary thanked everyone for coming, saying her family considers concert-goers family and that she loves them all.
Pearce took the stage not long afterward. During her set, Pearce told the crowd she was “a fan of love” and then handed her microphone to a “super fan,” according to a security person, who one of the security team who regulated who could and could not make their way to the stage. The man who took the mic proceeded to propose to his girlfriend, who accepted, in front of the huge crowd already filling the seats and grass areas. The security person who spoke to the Sidney Daily News said the proposal was pre-arranged months ago with Pearce’s crew.
The fun vibe in the air, as usual, included families on their annual vacation, to huge groups of friends who annually gather, to individuals attending alone. All were excited to enjoy the weekend of live music.
Brandi and Josh White Sr., their boys, Josh Jr., 17, and Colton, 13, along with best friend Kevin Koogler, all of Springfield, are making the week of camping, starting last Tuesday, their family vacation time. The Whites have been coming for the last six years; this year is Koogler’s fourth year attending.
“It’s a great time. It’s definitely worth (the money),” Josh Sr. said about he and his wife’s annual tradition to attend the concert.
This is the first time they brought along their boys, the Whites said. Country Concert tickets was a graduation gift for their oldest son, Josh Sr. said, and then he knew he had to bring Colton along too.
“We’ve seen fun, fornication, and fighting (over the years attending). We’ve seen it all. But it is still a great time,” Brandi said with a laugh.
Koogler said the comfort of camping during Country Concert is the sole reason he bought a camper. All five enjoy the comforts of air conditioning, water and electricity in his camper, they all admitted.
A huge group of 45 to 50 friends from Indiana, who are in their mid 20s to mid 30s, have annually gatherd for the last 15 years at Country Concert, and this year is no different Courtney Scherer, of Monroeville, Indiana, said. The group camps in the same spot and sit at the same “poll seven” each year. Scherer said their names are still written on the pole they gather at each year.
Fifteen-year attendee, sporting a mow-hawk and an American flag Speedo, Craig “Scooter” McDaniel, also of Monroeville, Indiana, said he has seen a lot of people come through this concert venue. He noted that he is looking forward to seeing Aaron Lewis and Kid Rock perform during the opening night.
“I’ve always wanted a Rock-n-Roll night, so with Aaron Lewis and Kid Rock performing, I get it,” McDaniel said. “But I’m curious how people will take (Kid Rock’s) language.”
But his sister Sarah Anne McDaniel, of Springfield, said, she suspects with his late night performance and people knowing who Kid Rock is and what his music is like, she doesn’t think people will be too surprised.
“He is in between country and rock. I am excited to see Sammy Kershaw (perform Saturday night). He is full-on ‘old country,’” Sarah Anne said, noting Kershaw was always played in their home growing=up.
Shawn Fitzgerald, of St. Peters, Missouri, said he is originally from Vandalia, and came on Thursday by himself. He said he will be joined by his sister on Saturday night, who is from Huber Heights, but doesn’t mind being at Country Concert alone.
“I’m excited to see Kid Rock and Chris Stapeleton both,” Fitzgerald said, while wearing a Kid Rock concert T-shirt.
Carly Pearce kicked off Thursday’s opening night at 4 p.m., followed by Aaron Lewis, Kip Moore, and Kid Rock as the headliner 10 p.m.
The lineup for Friday, July 12, is as follows:
4 p.m. Chris Lane
6 p.m. Granger Smith
Featuring Earl Dibbles Jr.
8 p.m. Gary Allan
10 p.m. Chris Stapleton
10 a.m. USA karaoke finals
5 p.m. Tyler Rich
7 p.m. Walker Hayes
9:15 p.m. Drew Parker
To purchase tickets, or book camping, visit www.countryconcert.com, or call 937-295-3000.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.