When the torrential downpours continued into the late afternoon Friday, it wasn’t looking very promising for the second annual John Michael Montgomery Country-Fest.
But the rain stopped and the sun came out just before the first concert began Friday and continued all day Saturday, and the crowds turned out in force for the festival.
Organizer Brian Thomas said despite the weather, this year’s festival attendance was on par with last year.
“We’re pleased with the attendance this year. Any time you try to do an event like this, it’s always good to get a decent crowd and we did,” Thomas said. “We were really worried on Friday afternoon when the weather was still pretty bad, but it cleared up and people were able to come on in and everyone had a good time. We ended up having about 5,000 people on Friday and about 10,000 on Saturday which is right about what we had last year.”
Several changes were made to the festival this year to try to improve the experience for patrons, including the addition of a car show and moving the food vendors to the front of the park property.
“I think the car show was a good addition to the event because it allowed campers and others to have something else to do that day. We brought in 155 cars for the show and it went wonderfully,” Thomas said. “We also moved the vendors up on the hill where they were more visible, more accessible, so people could still see the big screens while they were ordering and it worked out well. Both the vendors and the patrons were happy with the move.”
Also this year, organizers made the decision to not allow coolers to be brought into the event for safety reasons. Thomas said the moved worked and was accepted very well by visitors.
“Last year we had a lot of glass beer bottles and glass Ale-8 bottles brought in and it just creates a danger, so we decided to ban coolers this year,” Thomas said. “It worked out fine. We had a few people who tried to bring them in and when we explained why we changed the policy, they returned them to their cars with no problem. Now there were still a few who snuck them in under their jackets, but it wasn’t nearly as many as last year, so it worked out well.”
Last year local non-profit groups who worked the festival received $15,000 for their efforts. Thomas said organizers were figuring out how much the groups earned this year, but expected it to be about the same amount.
Overall, Thomas said, it was a very good festival and was enjoyed by both entertainers and visitors alike.
“All the artists we talked to really enjoyed the atmosphere and the location. The sound and stage folks we had are first rate, so the production was well received,” Thomas said. “We’re happy with the turnout and the people we talked to enjoyed the festival, so we’re happy.”
Contact Bob Flynn at email@example.com.