By Connor Hayes | firstname.lastname@example.org
With the smell of sod, Bud Light Platinum and sweat fresh on everyone’s booths and clothes, Jacksonville’s inaugural Florida Country Superfest began in earnest.
Clark Hill, The Adam Craig Band and the Fast 4 Ward band provided live music at the hub of pre-concert festivities, Fan Fest, a collection of tents, pavilions and Stetson-wearing attendees.
Wading through throngs of denim low-cut shorts, it’s easy to understand the spirit of the attendees and what drives people to travel dozens, if not hundreds, of miles just to glimpse their favorite Nashvillian.
One of these artists, Adam Craig, the charismatic, down-to-earth leader of the group that bears his name, put on a powerful performance before any of the headliners even started with a sound check. Craig not only exhibited his musicianship at Fan Fest, but his wicked sense of humor.
“Goodness it’s hot,” Craig said to the crowd. “The weather is just trying to keep up with these Florida ladies.”
Craig, who co-wrote “Church Pew or Barstool” on fellow country star Jason Aldean’s 2010 hit album, My Kinda Party, also broke ground by reaching into the Sirius XM country radio’s Top 100 in recent weeks.
Moments after Fan Fest had ended, and festival-goers had shuffled into the stadium for the main show, a torrential downpour swept over the area. Aside from the unlucky few caught outside, fans who packed into the many gates that led to the open-roof stadium’s seating kept up spirits by haggling with the staff for cold beer.
After two hours of delay, the fans began the take their seats and things got intense quickly. Country-rap hero Colt Ford took the stage, brandishing a mic stand that doubled as an American flag, followed by Little Big Town. Eric Church displayed all the bravado and charm that has made him a household name, at one point even chugging a miniature bottle of Jack Daniels handed to him by a fan in the front row.
To finish off Saturday’s festivities, country bad boy Jason Aldean provided audiences with a full pyrotechnic effects show, in addition to an incredible set.
Sunday afternoon featured the Fan Fest sets of the Grayson Rogers Band, Matt Bailie and Chris Lane. However, if fans thought the best of the festivities had passed them when they entered EverBank Field once again, they were in for a shock. Sunday’s headliners provided a fulfilling musical line-up, featuring country newcomers Easton Corbin and Joe Nichols, with rousing sets from Florida Georgia Line, Miranda Lambert and crowd favorite Luke Bryan.
It’s often said there’s strength in numbers, and this couldn’t have been more true at the Florida Country Superfest. With over 75,000 in attendance over the span of two days, the festival can be counted as a resounding success.