FORT LORAMIE — Friday’s Country Concert provided festival-goers with a day of sunshine and slightly cooler temperatures.
Montgomery Gentry took the main stage first, at 4 p.m. It was an emotional show, as Eddie Montgomery performed for the first time at Country Concert without Troy Gentry, who tragically died in a helicopter crash in Medford, New Jersey, on Sept. 8, 2017, where the duo was scheduled to perform that night.
Montgomery spoke to the crowd early on in the performance, at one point getting teary-eyed.
“When (Troy) and I would come here, this place was like home.
“Well, I tell you what,” he continued, “We’re gonna sing, we’re gonna smile, we’re gonna laugh and we’re gonna have a lot of drink tonight.
“And I’ll tell you one thing else that I’ve gotta say before we get any further: This is the greatest country in the world. We can say, we can be and we can dream as big as we want to in this great country. We just don’t give it up enough to all of our great American heroes, and I will promise you one thing, they are something to be proud of.”
The band then began to perform the song, “Something To Be Proud Of,” to an eager crowd.
Fans came from all over to attend the 38th annual Country Concert, which began in 1981.
Jim and Peggy Maloney, of Cincinnati, said they have about 50 of their closest friends and family joining them at Country Concert this weekend.
Peggy, who just retired as a secretary from Cincinnati Public Schools on July 1, said she’s looking forward to celebrating her newfound retirement and enjoys the exciting atmosphere of the festival.
“The best thing about (Country Concert) is you can be four years old or you can be 80 years old and if you love country music, you’re going to have a great time,” Peggy said.
The Maloneys said they are excited about the possibility of seeing Eric Church perform on Saturday, but expressed concern that he may not make an appearance after the recent death of his younger brother, Brandon Church.
According to Us Weekly, the singer’s rep released a statement saying Brandon died Friday, June 29.
The rumor of a possible cancellation of Church’s appearance is purely speculative and has not been announced or confirmed by Country Concert organizers. As of now, Church is still scheduled to perform on the main stage today.
Emily Hale and Heather Jones, of Jamestown, said this is their second time attending Country Concert.
Hale said she is most looking forward to seeing performances by Montgomery Gentry, Eric Church, Luke Combs, Cole Swindell and Brett Young.
“I’ve seen Brad Paisley four times,” Hale said. “He’s awesome.”
Hale said her favorite things about Country Concert are the music and the atmosphere.
“(I love) the ‘hell-raising, hell yeah, nobody cares’ vibe. You can just be yourself,” she said.
The remainder of Friday’s lineup included Brett Young, who performed at 6 p.m., Cole Swindell, at 8 p.m., and headliner Brad Paisley, who took the stage at 10 p.m.
The Friday night lineup at the Saloon Stage included Jon Langston, Danielle Bradbery and Dillon Carmichael. Ashley Martin and Mark Cantwil performed on the Homegrown Honky Tonk Stage on Friday.
Today’s lineup will include Elizabeth Cook, Kendell Marvel, Nikki Lane, Ashley McBryde and Alex Williams on the Saloon Stage; Eric Sowers and Reflektion on the Homegrown Honky Tonk Stage; and Lauren Alaina, Kane Brown, Luke Combs, Brothers Osborne and Eric Church on the main stage.
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