When it comes to June, most country fans are excited for the CMT Music Awards and the CMA Festival. For me (one who can’t afford or win the big trip to Nashville) I get excited for the four weeks of free country concerts from our local Charleston, SC radio show 103.5 WEZL and all their amazing sponsors. It was June of 2012 that I actually got to meet the owner of GotCountryOnline.com Stephanie Bear and ran into “Cruise” co-writer Jesse Rice. June of 2013 was a bit rainy. I only made it out of my car to two of the events, once which shortly thereafter got rained out. So we’ve been keeping our fingers crossed for a sunny and dry #WEZLPIP season. We’ve also been looking forward to showing off our pretty new press pass! Aren’t we fancy?!
Check out this awesome crowd! I’ve never seen this big of a crowd until the last concert of the Party in the Park series.
Charleston’s own Chandler Brown served up the National Anthem. He tweeted earlier in the day that it was his first time signing the National Anthem and he had to do it in front of 3000+ people. You didn’t need the good luck wishes Chandler. You rocked it! We hope to see you as a Party in the Park opener one day. Congrats on graduating this week and good luck working on your first album!
We got to chat a little with Katie Armiger as she was hiding her fair skin in the shade before she took the stage as the opening act. Stephanie wanted to make sure she would sing her hit single “Safe“. Katie admitted to occasionally forgetting to play her single at shows. It’s a must, right?! Artists should play all their hit singles if time permits. She’s a little shy between her songs but she’s got a good stage presence. She was booked to play the official after party at Red’s Ice House, but I just wasn’t able to hang out until then. Katie is such a sweetheart and I hope to see her again soon.
While between sets, we were hanging on the side stage chatting with Katie and Natalie Stovall when we spotted…. drumroll, please…. Chris Carmack! Or as some of you might know him, Will from ABC’s Nashville. Or as TJ from WEZL likes to call him, “the gay cowboy”. It turns out Will is dating a member of Katie Armiger’s band. I talked with him a little about Charleston. He said they got to do a carriage ride through the city but he was disappointed they couldn’t spend more time in our city. Come on back anytime Chris!
Next up on the Party in the Park stage was Natalie Stovall and the Drive. I was thrilled when Natalie was announced as part of the lineup. I can’t remember if I found her on twitter or she found me but when I listened to her songs on ReverbNation I was hooked. She plays a mean fiddle! It was so exciting to hear her play “The Devil Went Down to Georgia“. Actually, now that I think about it, it would be awesome to see her perform that alongside The Charlie Daniels Band. I learned Natalie is more than just a wild performer on stage, she’s a badass when it comes to ballads too.
Natalie started signing autographs before her set and announced after it that she’d be hanging out at her merchandise table. Man did she sign and sign away. The fans kept coming and she kept talking. I left halfway through Love and Theft’s set and she was still signing. It was really awesome to see an artist not on a timeline and be able to hang out with fans as much as she could. I bet she’d still be at the park talking with fans and signing merchandise if it wasn’t for the event being over and everyone being at the after party. Heck, she’s probably at the after party still hanging out! Hopefully some fans gave her some ideas for her red carpet outfit tonight at the CMT Awards. She said she still didn’t have anything picked out.
Last up was Love and Theft! Last time I saw LNT they were a lot more wild and I was too busy chasing around two guys who looked like they knew the band, one who happened to be Jesse Rice. Jesse was there tonight and I’m sad I missed him. We weaseled our way into their M&G segment where when I introduced myself to the boys I let them know we were already Facebook friends. Outside they pleased the screaming girls who couldn’t get into the M&G session with hellos and selfies together. It’s always fun seeing a fan get the chance to meet their favorite artist. As always, they put on a good show. I don’t remember Stephen being much of a dancer but he was grooving all over that stage as soon as he hit it. I wish I would have gotten video of it!
Week one of Party in the Park is in the books. I can’t wait for week two with Eric Pasley and The Swon Brothers. Music starts at 6 but make sure to get there early for a good spot. You can check with 103.5 WEZL for more details!