News Column

Bands in the Backyard is ready to roll

June 20, 2014

By Jon Pompia, The Pueblo Chieftain, Colo.

June 20--Against the backdrop of the St. Charles Mesa, thousands of music fans will again kick up their heels at the Bands in the Backyard Music Festival today and Saturday.

The Tommy G. Productions event this year will feature two days of music as well as a wealth of activities taking place throughout the arena.

Veteran Southern rocker Uncle Kracker and country music heartthrob Jake Owen will headline. Offering support to Owen on Saturday will be Chase Rice and Thomas Rhett, while Blackjack Billy and the Casey Donahew Band will share the bill with Uncle Kracker today.

Also scheduled to perform are Charley Jenkins and local entertainers Landon Williams and Overton Road.

Owens' latest single, "Beachin', " has climbed to the Top 10 on the country charts. The summery song is featured on his current album, "Days of Gold." The Floridian and former collegiate golfer also is well known for the

songs "Barefoot Blue Jean Night," "Startin' with Me" and "Eight Second Ride."

After last year's successful production, event creator Tommy Giodone reconfigured the concert, camping and parking areas to allow for more guests, additional activities and a safer, more comfortable concert experience.

The concert area is now covered in grass and the campground expanded to allow for 2,000 campsites. To provide a smoother, quicker entry, the arena's main gate has been adapted to include six individual entrance lanes.

There will be vendors and recreational activities aplenty, including the Party Barn, 300-foot zip line, giant water slide and more.

"I want this to feel just like a party people would have in their own backyards, a fun time with good music," Giodone said.

That music has expanded to include a variety of acts, not just contemporary country.

"Everyone loves a mix of music. It's what makes a fun party," said Giodone on his decision to incorporate Southern rock artist Uncle Kracker, who appeared at the Colorado State Fair several years ago and is best known for "Follow Me" and his remake of "Drift Away."

Chase Rice has released two albums, "Country as Me" and "Dirt Road Communion," and co-wrote "Cruise," the No. 1 single by Florida Georgia Line. His single "Ready Set Roll" was released late in 2013.

Thomas Rhett has charted four singles from his debut album "It Goes Like This," including the title track, which reached No. 1 on country airplay in late 2013.

Blackjack Billy refers to its brand of music as "redneck rock." The Nashville band's debut single, "The Booze Cruise," was independently released in March 2013 and became a huge seller on iTunes.

The Casey Donahew Band has released six albums since 2006. The group's singles are "Let Me Love You," "Double-Wide Dream" and the latest, "Whiskey Baby."

Giodone expects to welcome more than 13,000 partygoers to his backyard this time out.

"We've sold tickets to people from at least 20 states. We have people not only from across Colorado but across the nation. This is a great way to both boost the local economy while bringing new and exciting activities to the St.

Charles Mesa," he said.

Single-day general admission tickets are $65 for today and $75 for Saturday, plus service charges. A two-day pass is $83. Other ticket options are available, including VIP, tailgate and preferred admission.

See bandsinthebackyard. com for details.


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Source: Pueblo Chieftain (CO)

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