FORT LORAMIE — Beautiful summer weather, with pleasantly cooler temperatures in the 60s and 70s were welcomed by concert-goers on Friday, July, 9, which is day two of the three-day Country Concert at Hickory Hill Lakes in Fort Loramie.
“It’s perfect!” said Cheyenne Park, of Kirkwood, with a big smile and a drink in her hand. “Not too hot, not too cold.”
Attending the Friday and Saturday shows with friends and family, it was Park’s second time at the Country Concert.
“We were raised on country music,” she continued. “Tonight (we are looking forward to) Alan Jackson. Me and my sister can’t wait for Alan Jackson. But I’m also looking forward to Lainey Wilson tomorrow and Riley Green tonight.”
Country music legend Alan Jackson is the Friday night headlining act.
The Friday show was put together to “specifically showcase and tip our hat to our history” in celebrating the country music festival’s 40th anniversary, said Country Concert President Paul Barhorst a few weeks before the event.
Jackson’s performance was to be preceded earlier in the day on the main and saloon stages by Justin Moore; Riley Green; Lorrie Morgan; Jesse Keith Whitley, the son of Lorrie Morgan and the late Keith Whitley; Bellamy Brothers; McGuffey Lane; and Hannah Dasher.
Mother and daughter duo, Sandy Bond, of Wellston, and Paige McClain, of Nelsonville, who were attending the Country Concert for the first time, also praised the beautiful weather. Bond said they came to see Alan Jackson in celebration of her daughter graduating from Ohio University with her Ph.D.
“I am so proud of her. I’m going to cry saying this,” Bond said excitedly, as she detailed all of McClain’s hard work to get through college and balance being a mother of a 2-year-old son. “So, yes, I’m celebrating.”
McClain said although they live almost three hours away, she had heard about the Country Concert from a friend who attended numerous times over the years. When they learned Alan Jackson was playing, they planned to come.
“Alan Jackson was my mom’s favorite,” Bond said. “She passed away in 2018, and when we heard he was going to be here, we had to come.”
McClain was disappointed to miss Cody Johnson, who she had expected to see perform Thursday night, but learned through social media he could not be there because he was on vocal rest.
Celebrating her 32nd birthday with family Friday, Amanda Downey, of St. Marys, said she was “here to see Alan Jackson.” The first and the last time she attended the Country Concert was on her 13th birthday; it was also the last time Jackson performed at Hickory Hills Lakes.
“I only come when it’s Alan Jackson — and Dad’s the DD (designated driver),” Downey joked with a laugh.
Downey’s father George Crowe, of St. Marys, said his daughter also made the Sidney Daily News on her 13th birthday at the Country Concert, and he was happy she was returning with them. He and his wife Sandra have attended the music festival each year for the past 34 years, with the exception of 2020.
“Sandra got tickets in 2019, and because of COVID, we just rolled them over to this year,” George Crowe said, referring to the fact that 2020 tickets were valid for the 2021 because the three-day show was postponed due to the pandemic.
The lineup for Saturday, July 10 is as follows:
2 p.m. Deana Carter
4 p.m. Jo Dee Messina
6 p.m. HARDY
8 p.m. Chase Rise
10 p.m. Jason Aldean
1 p.m. Clark Manson
3 p.m. Rayne Johnson
5 p.m. Lainey Wilson
7 p.m. Flatland Cavalry
9:15 p.m. Desert City Ramblers
To purchase tickets, or book camping, visit www.countryconcert.com, or call 937-295-3000.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.