My most favorite thing about the beginning of May, besides all the Justin Timberlake memes, is that May 1st means the announcement of WEZL’s Party in the Park lineup. For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, every Tuesday in June WEZL hosts a free concert at the Mount Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park. What I love about this concert series is that it showcases all the up & coming artists. Sure, I love top entertainers like Eric Church, Luke Bryan, and Jason Aldean and will see them every time they come to town. But… I really enjoy finding new artists and watching them pursue their dream.
Past years have included artists such as Chris Lane, Jordan Rager, The Swon Brothers, Eric Paslay, Drake White, Canaan Smith, Kelsea Ballerini and many more. Plus! You never know who is going to show up. I ran into Chris Carmack from Nashville three years ago who was traveling with his girlfriend in Katie Armiger’s band. The first year I went to Party in the Park, I became friends with Jesse Rice, co-writer of Cruise, who was hanging out with Love & Theft. One of the coolest PIP experiences I’ve had was seeing Craig Campbell. His label had literally just folded days before and he personally footed the bill to get his crew to Charleston to fulfill his obligations.
The free summer concert also showcases local artists such as Southbound 17, McKenna Andrews, Haley Mae Campbell, and Brady Smith. This year I hope to see my two favorites Mitchell Lee and Henri Gates of Saluda Shoals, who once made up Southwood. Plus, I’m always excited to be introduced to other new acts around the Lowcountry.
- Tyler Farr – Tyler broke into the music scene in 2013 with “Redneck Crazy,” pairing up with Lee Brice, Colt Ford and Willie Robertson for a hilarious music video. You may have seen him earlier this year, donning a giant fur coat during an unplugged concert at The Groves. Check out his latest song “Better In Boots.”
- High Valley – I got so tickled when I saw High Valley on the lineup. Last fall my husband was asking me about a new song that mentioned Hallelujah in the course and had a banjo. I had no clue what he was talking about so I enlisted the help of my music friends on Twitter. The answer was “Make You Mine.” When we played it, I realized I knew every word to the song. Oops!
- Carly Pearce – I will admit the only song I know is “Every Little Thing,” but it is so perfectly written and delivered, that I can’t wait to hear her whole set.
- Parmalee – Parmalee was last in Charleston in 2014 when they opened up for Jake Owen, the concert where he split his pants! With songs like “Carolina” and “Musta Had a Good Time,” they’re a hit in the Lowcountry.
- Brett Young – I wish I could have a do-over on my wedding so I could use “In Case You Didn’t Know” as my first dance song. He released a full album earlier this year so check it out before heading to the show.
- Jackie Lee – You may not know it (I didn’t) but you’ve heard Jackie Lee on WEZL. He released “Getting Over You” to radio in January.
- Granger Smith – I’ve been a fan of Granger for quite a few years. He followed me on Instagram and I’ve been hooked ever since. I finally got to see him and his alter ego, Earl Dibbles, Jr, at the Coastal Carolina Fair last fall. I hope Earl will be making an appearance. Granger has been around for a long time but you probably know him best from “Backroad Song” and “If The Boot Fits.”
- Kristian Bush – A veteran to the PIP festivities, Kristian Bush is back! And I’m excited, because I believe I was sick when he came last time. Kristian is a good friend of GotCountry. My favorite song of his solo career has got to be Trailer Hitch.
- Seth Ennis – Now another good friend of GotCountry, I learned of Seth through my friend Cale Dodds. Seth released “Woke Up In Nashville” to radio earlier this year and has been on fire ever since, opening up for Billy Currington on his Stay Up ‘til The Sun Tour.
- Easton Corbin – Another returner to the PIP stage, if you’ve been following Easton since the beginning, you may remember “A Little More Country Than That” from seven years ago. His latest single is “A Girl Like You,” released back in January.
- Mo Pitney – Also returning to the stage is Mo Pitney, a traditional country voice in the new age of pop and rock country. His debut single “Country” proves that, along with “Boy & A Girl Thing.” You’ll think you’ve stepped back into the beloved 90’s country music when he opens his house.
- Dylan Scott – As one of my top three favorites, I’m so excited that Dylan is coming back to Charleston so soon. I’ve been following him for 4 years and finally met him last summer. I wake up to “My Girl” every morning, as I’m sure my husband rolls his eyes, but he knows every word. I probably play every single one of his songs every other day. And his covers are amazing! I had the DJ play “Thinking Out Loud” at my wedding. I honestly wish he was headlining so we can hear a longer set
The gates open at 5pm and music starts at 6pm. There’s plenty of parking under the bridge at Waterfront Park, however, it is always helpful to carpool. Details haven’t been provided yet, but there are always shuttle buses running as well. You are welcome to bring blankets and chairs, but leave Fido and the beer cooler at home. There will be plenty of food and beverage vendors on site. For more details, visit http://wezl.iheart.com/features/party-in-the-park-683/