Even as the inaugural Big Barrel Festival was wrapping up, it seemed as if all of the 30,000-plus country music fans gathered in The Woodlands at Dover International Speedway were ready for a second-annual event next summer.
“Blake Shelton got it rolling with a great performance [Friday night], Lynyrd Skynrd put on an unbelievable show and it was a great time all the way through, even with Saturday’s rain,” said Traci Sommersby, of Salisbury, Md. “They have got to bring this festival back again next year. They’d be crazy if they didn’t.”
The weekend festival was a combination of young and old country, with legends such as Loretta Lynn, Meryl Haggard and the Oak Ridge Boys sharing the spotlight with new superstars like Shelton, Kacey Musgraves, Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood.
There was sun, there was rain, and there was never a time where there wasn’t anything going on. There was a petting zoo for kids, plenty of things to eat and, of course, no shortage of adult beverages on hand.
“This is just a nice laid-back atmosphere, especially compared to Firefly,” said Derek Stranger, of Dover. “Everybody’s just having a good time.
“The rain was a great thing for me because I bought a ticket for $20 on Saturday from a fan who didn’t want to deal with the rain, so now I get to see Merle Haggard, a country legend. You can’t beat that.
“There is no doubt in my mind that this festival will return. It looks like a runaway hit.”