Written by Tracy Hansen. Photography by Kyle Hansen of RKH Images.
2013’s Country Fest is even more popular the previous year, pulling in a number of must see acts. Even on Wednesday night a day prior to the first concert, people are lined up to get into the campgrounds. People have been there since Sunday to enjoy the festival. Wednesday night is filled with fun at food and beer tents. Slamabama, a cover band of some of the greatest country and rock songs, plays the Miller Light beer tent, much to the massive enjoyment of partygoers.
The weather on Thursday is not all that people had hoped for, with clouds and slight bouts of rain mixing into the day. They don’t let it damper their mood however, whether it be in the afternoon when Dustin Lynch plays, or the early evening when Thompson Square begins their set. The most popular artists of the day were Brantley Gilbert and Miranda Lambert, who spectators sat through pouring down rain to watch. Brantley Gilbert sang a number of his hits, putting on a great stage show as well. The rain became incredibly heavy as Miranda Lambert took the stage, but the fans were more than happy to see her, especially when she said that they were shooting a video at the ground.
Friday morning began with more rain, but the shows continued. The day began with Geoff London and the Wolf Pack, as well as Greg Bates. Wisconsin native Josh Thompson played at five in the afternoon, just prior to Gloriana. The evening got picked incredibly when Hunter Hayes hit the stage, mirroring a country style version of Beatle mania. He and Montgomery Gentry put on excellent shows, enthralling their many excited fans, who spent the two hours after the last show in the beer tents watching numerous smaller acts.
Saturday finally begins to warm up and the sun breaks through. There are several more acts that day, including Back Home Boys beginning at eleven in the morning. Lost Highway, David Nail, and JT Hodges play throughout the afternoon to a number of fans who cannot get enough of the sun and music. It’s already a fantastic day when a surprise is given to everyone. The Red Bull Airforce Sky Dive team dives into an area on the top of the hill, something different for those at the show to see. It is between shows, so no one misses out on any music. They do an excellent job, only to do a second dive at night, much to the excitement of those who viewed the earlier showing and may have missed it as well.
Little Big Town puts on an excellent performance, preparing the audience for the main event of the night. As the sun sets, the festival is eager to step the party up a notch with Toby Keith. In typical fashion, Toby Keith comes out blazing, all American, and all about a good time. His hits, “Red Solo Cup” and “How Do You Like Me Now?” cause an absolute frenzy among fans. The fun continues after the show at the Leine Lodge with Laura Bell and at the Miller Light Pub with Slamabama.
One of the newest things this year is the entrance of Laura Bell to the Leine Lodge. Her performance consisted of an electronic mix of rock, country, and more. On Saturday night, the Leine Lodge is lit up like a rave, with a number of people enjoying her style. In the Jack Daniels tent, a number of live acts have been added, as well as television sets on which people are able to enjoy sports and more while drinking. Slamabama is the attraction at the Miller Light pub every night, pulling in people of all ages.
When the sun rises on Sunday, no one could tell you that it is the last day of the festival. People are still enjoying it as if it was the first, drinking, eating various foods, and camping with friends. There are a number of great acts playing that lead up to an exciting night. The afternoon begins with Greene and Hurst and Paramalee, which leads into Thomas Rhett. Colt Ford hits the stage at six-thirty, followed by Jake Owen. The final act is Jason Aldean, who puts on a spectacular concert. A large highlight is when Colt Ford joins him on stage for “Dirt Road Anthem”. The festival ends the weekend with a beautiful display of fireworks behind the end of the Jason Aldean set, leaving fans to then venture to the beer tents for the remainder of their weekend.