FORT LORAMIE — Neither rain nor mud stopped people from enjoying the “jamboree in the hills” at Country Concert 2017.
“No rain and/or mud stopped so many (people) from supporting Country Concert 2017,” said John Emrick, of Piqua. “(Thursday’s) concert was great! … Country Concert was full of great fans (on opening night) as always.”
Emrick and a huge group of friends and family have been coming to the weekend-long concert in the VIP section for about 10 years. Emrick’s mother, Connie Martin, of Piqua, really enjoyed the Oak Ridge Boys’ opening act. She said it made her think back, of “so many memories” when listening to them.
“Blake (Shelton) by far was the greatest he’s ever been … As every year, the performances were on point. It’s great to see a small town put on such a huge show year after year. The Barhorst family have really made Country Concert fun,” Emrick said.
Diana Donohoo, of Tipp City, has attended for the last 10 years. She wasn’t thrilled about another storm coming through, Friday, but the weather wasn’t dampening her spirits or excitement to see Jake Owen play Friday night.
“My favorite for tonight’s line up is Jake Owen. He puts on a great show for his fans,” Donohoo said Friday afternoon. “I have been going for around 10 years now … I have been lucky enough to see several top-notch entertainers over the years. I am amazed how it has grown so much and how the Barhorst family is able to get the world’s best artists to come play to us out in the middle of a field,” Donohoo said.
People slowly trickled into the concert area as the rain began again when Cam, the first musician on the main stage Friday evening, started her set. Their overall perspective was, “It is what it is,” “It’s an outdoor concert, be prepared,” or “It’s just water.”
A group of young people, 16-21 years old, from Houston said they were mostly excited to see Florida Georgia Line tonight and Jake Owen on Friday.
When asked what they thought about the mud and the rain, a 16-year-old girl said, “We don’t care; we’re ‘rednecks.’ And I like to see the big trucks in the mud.’”
Mary Cronenwett, of Toledo, said this makes her family’s 21st year at the Country Concert. It’s their family tradition to attend. She said only two or three other times did she recall its raining as much as Friday.
Gate entrance staff and Spirit Medical Transport EMS reported things were going really well through Friday afternoon.
A Key II security staff member said, “So far, people have been chill” and they haven’t had any issues. He said usually people go with the flow when it rains and play in the mud.
Shelby County Sheriff John Lenhart said it was the largest crowd they have ever had on a Thursday, but things were “routine” for his deputies. Working the concert this year, he has 160 deputies per eight-hour shift over four days. He also has the assistance of Auglaize and Logan counties, as well as the private security company, Key II.
Lenhart said due to the hills, the property has been “prepared well for wet weather” by Country Concert organizers. He believed they hauled in 400 too 500 tons of gravel over the last couple of days to help people get around without getting stuck in the mud.
Regardless of the gravel, some people’s vehicles were seen being pushed out of the mud when attempting to park. It didn’t seem to affect people’s moods, as music played in the background.
Below is the line up, if you still want to get “a little mud on the tires” — or your shoes:
Today, Saturday, July 8:
2 p.m. Chris Lane
4 p.m. Dan & Shay
6 p.m. Montgomery Gentry
8 p.m. Brett Eldredge
10 p.m. Florida Georgia Line
1 p.m. Clark Manson
3 p.m. Tara Thompson
5 p.m. Amanda Watkins
7 p.m. Chris Lane
9:15 p.m. Morgan Wallen
To purchase tickets, or book camping, visit countryconcert.com, or call 937-295-3000.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.