Welcome to Country Thunder 2011 where there is always plenty of heat and music. So far the turnout is small. Thursday usually gets packed after everyone gets off work. Then begins the carmagedon of Country Thunder. Cars sit in massive lines from Richmond, IL trying to get their parking spot in the GA lots. If reserved parking isn’t full, try buying a ticket there, trust me it’s worth it!
Walking around in the high heat makes just about anybody melt. The hottest commodity is the ice cold spray bottles. The men selling them are spraying them on patrons as they walk by. If it were any other time I am sure people would be angry, but not today. It’s 100 with a heat index of 112. The EMTs are ready for those who need it right next to the stage as well as lots of off duty cops walking around.
The one thing Country Thunder needs to change is the water situation. At Lollapalooza, and most recently DMB Caravan in Chicago, if you purchased or brought in an empty water bottle you could fill it for free at water stations. Stagecoach in Indio, CA does this as well. With water and beverages at different price points around the grounds, it’s frustrating to find the station that costs the least. Oddly enough the beverage stand in the reserved seating only costs 3 food tickets ($3) while another outside in GA costs 4.
This year they have a frat house open with bands playing at all times. This is a blessing for those who need to escape the sun as the Frathouse is a gigantic white tent. Mid day I found 80 percent of the patrons under the tent instead of cooking in the heat.
It’s a country show I understand the need for a cowboy hat. They are practical on days like these as are tank tops. I don’t even care if bras are showing from tanks on the ladies either because it’s so stinking hot. The real thing that makes heads turn, and then ridicule, are the super short daisy dukes the young ladies are wearing. I don’t care how fit or thin you are, your butt cheeks hanging out of your shorts is not cool! It’s really not attractive when you keep trying to pull them out of your butt crack too. What are you thinking ladies?!
Already an act canceled. Stealing Angels had to bow out due to one of the Angels being ill. The Roys happily filled in the slot. They were at guitar center yesterday when their tour manager pulled Lee Roy aside and asked if they wanted the first spot of the 4 day country music festival. Lee said, “I thought about it for maybe a millisecond and said absolutely yes!” The brother sister duo seemed most grateful to the crowd for listening and several time mentioned to never give up on your dreams as they do come true. They drove that message home since they were only slotted to play the Frathouse stage all four days of Country Thunder. A lucky break and they graced the mainstage, which is a country stars dream come true.
The Roys are blue grass country which is a bit of a rarity on the Country Thunder stage this year. Most of the acts are the new country that melds pop licks into their music. The Roys opened with some Dolly Parton “9 to 5” and played the coal miner’s song that they made the video for the song in a real coal mine. Lee looked at Elaine said, “She don’t look so pretty in a hard hat.”
The Roys in Photos:
Sawyer Brown took the stage and no heat stopped them from their stage performance. The heat actually infused lead singer Mark Miller. The man never stopped moving or spinning even as the sweat dripped off of him. It was actually very difficult to stand on the pavement in the reserved area in the direct sunlight. Not really sure how those who made it out early withstood the heat.
Sawyer Brown Potos:
The sun went down and so did some of the heat. Yet the temperature rose when Lady Antebellum hit the stage. I watched the crowd rush the GA fence and fans climbed on shoulders of others just to get a better view. The fans in the reserved area ran to the stage and runway as Lady Antebellum set foot on the runway.
The night’s set was filled with new songs from the new album We Own the Night, which will be released this fall as well as a melody of songs they wrote for other artists. They managed to squeeze in “Stronger”, along with covers from Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, and Johnny Cash. A funny note is Five For Fighting the night before had played the same Katy Perry cover of “Teenage Dream.” How many times have you heard that one live?
Even though Lady Antebellum had to end their night at Country Thunder, Friday brings a new set of great artists to the fold including Jason Jones, Steel Magnolia, Charlie Daniels, Sonia Leigh, Blackberry Smoke, and Zac Brown Band.
Lady Antebellum photos: