In addition to a lineup of local and nationally-known musicians, the 2012 John Michael Montgomery Country-Fest also will feature a car show, zip line, mechanical bull and a play area for children.
Festival marketing director Susie Merida said organizers wanted to appeal to families and a wide variety of interests.
“We really do try to make it a little something for everybody,”¿Merida said.
Concerts begin at 3 p.m. Friday at Lykins Park with Sundy Best on the Main Stage. Other performers Friday include Brad Alford, The Lost Trailers, Thompson Square and John Michael Montgomery.
“We have the second stage, which is the Community Trust Stage, and it’s showcasing a lot of our local talent. The good thing about the festival is it’s two days of music all day, not just the headliners,” Merida said.
Local performers will be Jessie Rose Pennington, daughter of Exile member J.P. Pennington; Scott Said and the Backroads Band; and Sterling Rose.
“What John (Michael Montgomery)¿wanted to do was have a mix of known artists with up-and-comers,”¿Merida said.
Thomas Rhett, son of singer Rodney Atkins, is still new to the country music scene, but Merida said she and other organizers believe he won’t be an unknown for long. She cited 2011 performer Jake Owen as an example of a former newcomer now considered a major player in the country-music scene.
“Jake Owen had one hit, and has since become a headliner,” Merida said.
Owen is best known for his 2011 hit “Barefoot Blue Jean Night.”
Trio Gloriana will perform on the Main Stage Saturday at 7:15 p.m. There second album, “A Thousand Miles Left Behind,” debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard Country Album Chart. Their first single from the album, “(Kissed You) Good Night,” peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Country Singles Chart.
Thompson Square, husband and wife duo Keifer and Shawna Thompson, will perform on the Main Stage at 7:30 p.m. Friday. They are best known for their 2011 song, “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not,”¿which became the most played song of the year on country radio.
“I think it’s nice to give people a variety of new and old music,” Merida said.
Trace Adkins will headline the Main Stage Saturday at 9 p.m. Adkins is a veteran of country music, with 10 studio albums and three greatest hits albums. He also is known for his appearance on “The Apprentice,”¿and his new show “Great American Heroes”¿on the Great American Country network.
A complete line-up is available at www.jmmcountryfest.com.
Weekend passes and single-night tickets still are available.
Merida and organizer Brian Thomas said ticket sales have been slow so far, as people waited to see weather forecasts, but they expect crowds to be large again this year.
“We’re expecting a big turn out. The sun is shining. We’ve got a bunch of pre-registrations for the car show. ... I do expect more people there this year,” Thomas said.
In addition to the new activities, concert-goers also can expect more vendors and expanded food offerings. The Kentucky Music Hall of Fame trailer also will be on site for people to tour.
Local youth and non-profit organizations will be helping with parking, ticket sales, set-up and clean-up throughout the weekend. Thomas said the 2011 festival raised $15,000 for local non-profits.
“We tried to go more youth driven this year, just because our youth get out there, and they’re very polite, and it teaches them service,” Thomas said.
The George Rogers Clark High School softball team, JROTC, cross country and baseball teams will benefit from the concert, Thomas said, as well as the Powell County Arts Council, Winchester Explorers, Boy Scout Troop 56, Clark Middle football and baseball and Conkwright baseball.
“We’re trying to rotate some new ones (non-profit groups), and help the ones that really need help,” Thomas said. “This will be a big boost for them.”
Organizers also said they have made improvements to Lykins Park, and will pay the city for use of the park.
“We want to contribute back to the community,”¿Thomas said.
He and organizers are excited to build on last year’s success, and provide audiences with a good variety of music.
“I think it brings a nice mix of local, regional and national talent,” Thomas said.
Contact Rachel Gilliam at email@example.com.