By Melody Vallieu
FORT LORAMIE — The sun set over a sea of country music fans on Saturday night as Thomas Rhett took to the stage to close out the annual County Concert at Hickory Hills.
Rhett brought the crowd back to their feet with a high-energy show, bouncing around the stage and engaging music fans — some who had spent the past three days in anticipation of his presence.
David Pelton of Springboro said while he enjoyed all of the prior performers over the three-day concert, Rhett was definitely the act to end the annual music festival. Pelton also had been given front-stage passes by his employer for Rhett’s performance, which included hits like “Life Changes,” “Craving You, and “Star of the Show.”
“It goes like this,” Pelton said jokingly. “He has a lot of energy, engages the crowd and is just an overall good performer.
“He really was the pinnacle of performers to close out an amazing weekend of music.”
Pelton, a Wisconsin native, said he has been attending the concert for several years since relocating to Ohio. He said through camping, he has met friends from several states and each year the group reunites for the concert.
“We camp, catch up and enjoy some really great music,” Pelton said. “I’ve made life-long friends here, I look forward to it every summer.”
Saturday’s line-up also included Dustin Lynch, also a crowd pleaser, along with Ashely McBride, Dylan Scott and Roots & Boots, made up of country crooners Sammy Kershaw, Aaron Tippin and Collin Raye.
Gunner Trabel of Loogootee, Ind., said he agrees with Pelton that Rhett ended the concert on a high note — literally.
“He was amazing, I love to watch him perform, He really knows how to get the crowd into the music,” said Trabel, who said he had previously saw Rhett in concert.
Trabel, who also had three-day passes for the event, said Kid Rock also was a nice switch up during the 2019 concert.
“He isn’t exactly country, but he for sure added to the show, definitely changed things up,” Trabel said. “They can do that any time in the future. I think people really enjoyed it.”
Trabels girlfriend, Mindy Vock, also of Loogootee, said she also enjoyed the sounds of Jimmie Allen, Kip Moore and Dustin Lynch.
“Dustin Lynch also put on a great show, I love his music, ‘Seein’ Red’ is one of my all-time favorites,” Vock said. “I’m already looking forward to them announcing next year’s line-up. We’ll so be back.”