Country Concert starts with a bang


By Jacob Clemens

For the Sidney Daily News

FORT LORAMIE — The scene on Day 1 of the 42nd annual Country Concert Thursday afternoon was a familiar sight for usual attendees. Cars flooding into grass parking spots, crowds congregating at the front of the Main Stage with their camping chairs in hand, all in harmonious anticipation of the night ahead.

“Sun’s hot, beer’s cold,” an eager couple from upstate New York said. “This is our first Country Concert here. There was one back where we were from, but they canceled that one a few years back.”

“Chase Matthew is my new crush,” the lady of the relationship said humorously to the dismay of her partner.

Blackhawk kicked off the first night of Main Stage performances with their 1994 hit “Every Once in a While,” and were met with applause when lead singer Henry Paul announced their drummer for the evening, Lima native Mike Bailey. “The Pride of Lima,” he declared.

“It’s just a great environment, really it’s great to see things turn out well,” said Damian, a long-time event worker. “This year’s pretty personal since we lost a very cherished member of our crew. She handled the walking crew out in the main show area, and she was.. she was our Mom, we called her. It was important to her. We’ll show her we can handle this, even without her.”

When discussing the responsibilities of working at Country Concert, Damian said, “We like to keep it like things are magically kept clean, you won’t even see us around.” he explained, “We wanna make sure you guys feel comfortable, like it’s your own place to just chill, relax, and watch some good music.

If you’re attending this year’s event and you see one of the workers around, either adorned in red, white, and blue or in their crew shirts, thank them for their hard work during these three long, humid summer days. They deserve respect.

Later on in the evening at 6 p.m., Grammy winner Carly Pearce took the Main Stage, performing many of her well-known tracks such as “I Hope You’re Happy Now” and “What He Didn’t Do.”

Frank Geers, father of performer and JD Legends “Get The Gig” contest winner Max Geers, attended Country Concert for the first time to support his son.

“This is our first time up at the festival. I never even actually knew about this festival until recently. A lot of our friends know of it because they live up in this neck of the woods,” said the Cincinnati native. “I’ve never been a big festival-goer, but this has been amazing”

“He [Max] had a scholarship for opera singing to Ole Miss. He left there 6 months into it to start his own music career. He’s been writing his own music for the last 2.5 years.”

Max Geer’s most popular song to this date is named “Spitting Bullets,” and has over 200,000 downloads on Spotify.

According to Frank, the idea of entering the JD Legends “Get The Gig” contest, Max’s eventual route to Country Concert, was actually proposed to him by his friend and fellow artist Blake Tyler, who would also perform on the “Homegrown Honky Tonk” stage that same night.

To end the day of festivities, household name artists Jon Pardi and Tim McGraw each gave performances Thursday night on the Main Stage, in front of an estimated 25,000 fans.

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