Calling All Country Music Fans
When most people in Massachusetts think about concerts, they think of Boston or Foxborough. But Amesbury may soon be added to that list when the Amesbury Harvest Fair and Country Music Festival makes its debut this September.
With a lineup of more than 21 country music artists to be showcased throughout the weekend of Sept. 22 – 24, the ACMF will please all country music tastes, from folk to soul to country-pop. Award-winning talent is travelling from across the U.S. to entertain thousands of people at Landry Stadium for three days of live, up-close music.
Legendary country acts are set to take the stage, including The Charlie Daniels Band, Travis Tritt, Craig Morgan, Rodney Crowell and The SteelDrivers.
Also on the bill are up-and-coming artists such as The Way Down Wanderers, a five-person band from Chicago who specialize in alternative folk, upbeat soul and banjo-filled country. There are no red tractors or dogs gone missing in this band’s lyrics, though. Instead, their songs detail the struggles of musicians trying to make their big breaks, or dealing with friends who want to be more than just friends. Sporting dreadlocks, baggy T-shirts and hipster shoes, they’re not your average country band, but they bring a bundle of spirit and soul to every stage.
“We don’t want people to get bored when we do a lineup — we put a lot of time and thought into it. We want to pick artists that perform really well — we make sure we go and see each artist we hire,” says Charlene Colgan, co-owner of Rock Lobster Productions, which is behind the festival. Colgan and her partner, Chris Keenan, aim to bring variety to the music festival by including bands that specialize not only in country, but also in bluegrass, soul and Americana. Some, like The Way Down Wanderers, even play the spoons.
Another groundbreaking artist to hit the stage is Jimmy Connor, who was born and raised in Massachusetts and has been referred to as “the next Hunter Hayes.” At only 17 years old, Connor has opened for many famous country artists, including Granger Smith, Chase Bryant and The Cadillac Three. His energetic but humble personality gets the audience singing along with his renditions of classic country pop and rock songs. Connor is excited to be performing at the first Amesbury Country Music Festival not only because he’ll see familiar local faces in the audience, but also because he follows many of the famous country artists that will be there.
“The Charlie Daniels Band is legendary, so it’s crazy to think about all they have done and accomplished in their career,” says Connor. “I’m a fan of Travis Tritt, Craig Morgan, Mo Pitney and some of the others and really hope to have the chance to meet them!”
Rodney Crowell and The SteelDrivers, among others, will be joining Connor this September at Landry Stadium.
The festival promises more than country music. The Harvest Fair portion of the weekend is a free event for all ages. Guests can visit a farmers market, artisan food vendors, baking competitions, exhibitions, craft vendors, family activities and enjoy acoustic music throughout downtown Amesbury to kick off the beautiful New England autumn season.
“We want to not only make sure Amesbury gets a lot of business, but to highlight what a great place it is, so people come back,” Colgan says. “Aside from live music, we have a beer garden, a couple of stages, history tours so people will learn about Amesbury, and a lot of interactive things for kids.”
Autumn in New England is known for pumpkin picking, hay rides, admiring the beautiful foliage … and now, enjoying the Amesbury Harvest Fair and Country Music Festival. Put on your favorite flannel T-shirt and get the family together for the start of a quintessential fall tradition.
We’ll have web-exclusive interviews with performers leading up to the festival – check back soon.