Unless you’re a big college football fan, you most likely agree that summer is the best time of the year. Yeah, I love the third week of November through January 2 because you get so much time off from work during that period and then it does seem like everyone is smiling during the Christmas season. That’s very nice.
But if you are a Country Music fan the summer is unequaled.
Last week Kenny Chesney and American Express partnered for an amazing show at Wildwood Beach in New Jersey. Kenny guessed that there were 25,000 to 30,000 fans in attendance for the free show. There were 30,000 smiles throughout the entire show.
That same night Hunter Hayes played in front of 8,000 fans in Kansas City at a street fair like event.
Last weekend my old friends at Go Country had Reba on Friday, LeAnn Rimes on Saturday, and Glen Campbell on Sunday. The first full weekend of summer in Southern California was a big one for fans of live country music performances.
Three weekends ago summer kicked off with the CMA Fest where almost every big and new name played Nashville with 70,000 people a night at LP Field and thousands more around town traveling into Music City to see live Country Music.
Staying in Nashville for a second, thousands more make the trip see performances at the Opry during their summer breaks.
Festivals abound all Summer with BamaJam fighting through tough weather to make Dothan, Alabama the center of live Country Music a couple of weekends ago. Tim McGraw, Zac Brown Band and Eric Church laughed at the thunder and lightning to make sure their fans went into the night convinced that these superstars know how important their fans are.
I once was interviewing an act that had big success in Pop music and then was transitioning to Country Music. I asked them how they felt about 230 dates a year on the road. They told me that they were not going to do it. One record and they were out of Country Music.
I saw the Country Throwdown tour last month in Ohio. Seeing fans “dress up” for these events makes a radio programmer’s heart jump. It shows that the passion for the music is big and getting bigger. Seeing fans from 10 years old to 60 years old makes me know that we are the format that will be around forever.
I just want to take a second and say thank you the Country Music performers who leave their families behind for weeks on end and bring the music to the fans.
I know that some of them make a lot of money from these shows but there are a lot of acts that are paying back recoupables and some pickers are making a salary and not getting rich. They get on a crowded bus because they love the looks from the fans and love what they are doing.
In or out of the business, go see a show this summer as a fan. Don’t work. Take your family or friends, drink beer that you paid for and see the show through a fan’s eyes. That feeling will pay off when you get back to work the next day.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of MusicRow.)
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About the AuthorCook is currently on the board of both the ACM and the CMA and serves as Director of Programming and Brand Management for West Virginia Radio Corp, based in Morgantown, WV. He is also President of McVay/Cook and Associates, a Cleveland-based media consulting company. He has served on the CRB Board for over 20 years.
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