Concert Rocks Hickory Hills
FORT LORAMIE — Music filled the air as country fans flocked to Hickory Hills in Fort Loramie for the 31st annual Country Concert.
The three-day event ended Saturday evening and included camping and country music from big names in the industry, including Lady Antebellum, Carrie Underwood and Jason Aldean.
Many people helped make this festival a success, including concert workers, security and parking supervisors from dedicated citizens, including Lima’s Lee Lauck.
“It’s hot,” Lauk said on Saturday afternoon, the final day of the concert. “This is my fourth or fifth year doing this. I help my brother (Chad Lauck), who is in charge of parking.”
Lauck is a traffic supervisor, and works up to 13 hour shifts, which began on Tuesday, as campers rolled in.
Lauck had been out at the grounds since Tuesday, and his job duties include dhelping people find their camping spots, and directing the day and overnight car parking.
“I’ve never seen the parking lot that full,” Lauck said, of Saturday’s car parking lot. “It’s a good turnout.”
The three-day event that took place this past weekend is one of the biggest concerts that is held in the area, and brought in approximately 50,000 to 60,000 people.
Lauck said the busiest times of his long shifts were early in the week when he helped direct traffic for the campers, and the exit traffic of cars after each of the three nights.
Lauck knows the concert pretty well because not only has he been working out there for a few years, but he also used to be a concert-goer years ago.
“Before I started helping my brother, I camped and partied out here for about 10 years,” Lauck said.
Saturday drew the largest crowd at the concert, with acts including The McClymonts, Colt Ford Steel Magnolia, Darius Rucker and Jason Aldean, who closed the concert out by performing his hit songs, “Dirt Road Anthem” and “Don’t You Want to Stay.”
Each of the three days, concert-goers with general admission wristbands had the opportunity to sit in the Gold Circle section, if they were one of the first 4,000 people arriving at the concert each morning.
On Saturday morning, concert-goer Amanda Barhorst and her friends waited in the Gold Circle line, which opened at 9 a.m.
When the gate for Gold Circle opens, concert-goers run with their lawn chairs to claim their spots for the day.
“Gold Circle opened at 9 a.m. and filled up in 15 minutes,” Barhorst said of Saturday.
Barhorst, along with her friends, were unable to get a spot in the Gold Circle section on Saturday, but were still able to get seats toward the front of the general admission section.
Security is needed for the concert to maintain safety and to make sure everything is in order for the weekend.
This year, security from Key II Security, out of Troy, helped with that.
“I’m making sure people are checked and are wearing the correct wristbands,” Key II Security member Cody Swabb said.
To be a part of the 4,000 people in the Gold Circle, each of the 4,000 people are given a special wristband that allows them access in the area for the rest of the day, and Swabb and his crew were watching to make sure only the people with proper wristbands were admitted in this section, along with other concert workers.
This was Swabb’s third year working the concert, and he said he has mainly been working the night shifts.
“This is fun,” Swabb said. “I get to enjoy the concert. I work, but it’s all free.”
Swabb said that Key II Security, who were wearing the bright yellow shirts at the show, brought out approximately 150 people to help make sure the concert went smoothly.
“I’m looking forward to Jason Aldean,” Swabb said, on Thursday evening at the concert.
On Thursday, Luke Bryan and Lady Antebellum helped kick off the event.
Before Luke Bryan’s performance on the big stage, he could be found at the Sidney Walmart, performing a few of his hit songs in the Lawn and Garden Center during the afternoon.
Many of his fans who attended the special show were able to get his autograph before his big show on Thursday evening at Fort Loramie.
Lady Antebellum took the big stage at Hickory Hills on Thursday, after Bryan, to close out the first night of the event.
This was their second time visiting the concert, and they said they were excited to be back.
The group announced that the “Lady” in Lady Antebellum, Hillary Scott, just got engaged during the Fourth of July weekend, and this was one of the band’s first shows since the big news.
They played hits including “American Honey,” “Just A Kiss” and “Need You Know” during their performance. During their performance, Mother Nature surprised fans as it rained for approximately 30 minutes during their show. This cooled down the fans but did not stop anyone from enjoying their show.
The group has been a popular band in the country music industry by having the top selling country album in 2010 with “Need You Now.” They are getting ready to release their next CD on Sept. 13, titled “Just A Kiss.”
Also on Thursday, Brantley Gilbert took the stage at 6 p.m. to officially kick off the concert.
On Friday evening, Carrie Underwood also made her second appearance to the concert. Her first was a few years ago just after she had won her season of American Idol.
Underwood played a few of her recent hits along with her first singles, including “Jesus Take the Wheel,” which helped kicked off her country career, and “Temporary Home,” and “Wasted.” She is currently working on a new album.