Yallapalooza 2012


Yallapalooza isn’t just a concert, and they call it a festival for a reason. This is not your average pop country. This is the real thing, with real down-home American pride, complete with Bradley Gaskin, Kix Brooks, Phil Vassar, Corey Smith, Parmalee, Big and Rich, Connor Christian, Southern Gothic and none other than Dierks Bentley headlining.

Many of the festival goers from last year’s Yallapalooza complained that this year’s lineup couldn’t compare to the former one, which featured Eric Church and Hunter Hays; but Corey Smith, Big and Rich and Dierks Bentley far exceeded expectation.

Corey Smith is a little-known country singer who got up on stage and talked about how lucky he was to be there. It was the start of the long 3:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. day. Most people weren’t all that excited for him, walking back and forth in front of the stage and conversing with friends.

As soon as he started singing however, the crowd in front of the stage grew and people screamed and cheered. He played a rather long set list, and there were people right up next to the stage the whole time. The crowds were buzzing about who he was and how they were going to download his music when they arrived home. At the end of his set, Smith was beaming with pride.

Big and Rich was the second to last act to perform before the headliner Dierks Bentley. Although, if I hadn’t known that Dierks Bentley was headlining, I would have guessed that Big and Rich was.

They made quite an entrance with loud music, strobe lights and a large, light up “Big & Rich” sign. They seem like an older band trying to make a comeback, and they definitely succeeded.

They opened with their new hit “That’s Why I Pray” and really got the crowd excited for their rather long set. In the middle of their performance, they brought a man on stage who was a Vietnam veteran, had served all his life in the army and had two daughters serving in active duty. They had him lead the huge crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance, then performed another popular song, “The Eighth of November,” about soldiers giving their lives for our freedom.

They ended with one of their most popular songs, “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy,” as the entire crowd sang along cheerfully. The exit Big and Rich made was almost as colorful as the entrance, complete with more flashing lights and Rich smashing his guitar that was engulfed in flames.

Dierks Bentley concluded the amazing day of country music. Most people had come mainly to see him because he’s a big name in country music and always on the radio.

During one of his most popular songs “5150,” the crowd went berserk. People threw water bottles, hats, even boots up on stage; they jumped and belted lyrics. One girl even threw a t-shirt with her name and number on it, so Dierks replaced the lyrics of the song saying “I gotta lose your number girl, I gotta not call you up.” Other songs that the crowd went crazy for were “Up On the Ridge,” “Home” and “Free and Easy.”

People stayed through the entire show, even the ones who had seats super far away from the stage. No one seemed to even care that it was midnight and that they were sweaty and tired; everyone was just happy they could all be there listening to great music. The performance was wonderful, and everyone left with a smile on their face.