Tuesday, August 7, 2012

“The Crowd is So YOUNG!”

Watershed 2012 What A Beatiful Crowd!
Wathershed 2012: What A Beautiful View!

The first annual Watershed Country Festival at the Gorge in George, Washington is history and proves once again that country is a lifegroup and not a demographic.   The most heard comment from the non-country fans at the show was, “The crowd is so young!”  It is shocking how many of them expect the country fans to be old, toothless and living in trailer parks.  The stereotypes may never leave the country format but events like this continue to silence the critiques and bring new fans to the format.

Granted, music festival fans are a somewhat unique breed.  They are hard core country fanatics who appreciate the value of seeing dozens of artists over three days in one of the most beautiful concert venues in the world (The Gorge is a mini version of the Grand Canyon with great acoustics and a breathtaking view).  However, from the parking lot to the post show departure the lifegroup diversity is obvious.

Yes the parking lot was filled with a lot of pickup trucks but also plenty of upscale SUV’s, convertibles and Mini-vans.  The ages of the crowd streaming into the show ranged from the cradle to the grave.   The bulk of the fans were females 20 to 50.   With temperatures reaching 103 each day, the most popular outfit was the bikini with cowboy boots and a stylish cowboy hat, but there were plenty of average people with their shorts, tank tops and baseball caps too.  

These people came to party, enjoy music and soak up the sun.   Several security people commented that while it was one of the biggest festivals they have ever seen at The Gorge (bigger than Dave Mathews, The Hip Hop Summer Jam & Sasquatch), it was for the most part orderly, respectful and without incident.    Artist after artist celebrated the passion of this audience, the youth who knew the words to even the oldest, most traditional songs and the beauty of the venue. 

Five regional Country radio stations were on-site greeting and interacting with the fans and every station fans at their booth.  Young people sported station call letters on hats, shirts, tattoos and stickers.  Just further affirmation that radio reaches 93% of all Americans each week.   If you are in country radio and you have never spent three days in the trenches with the fans, shame on you!  Seek one out; watch and learn.  

Watershed now joins the ranks of dozens of amazing country music festivals:  CMA Music Fest, Country Jam, Country USA, The Hodag Country Music Festival, Stage Coach, Bayou Country Superfest and more.  All serving a country lifegroup that is diverse in age, careers, income levels and lifestyles but all of whom share a similar set of core values; God, Family & Country (the music and the USA) and proud of it! 

1 comment:

  1. It was also an indicator that the format has a clear direction forward. Artists like Brantley Gilbert, Thomas Rhett, Thompson Square have passionate fans who are ahead of the curve. "Buzz" events such as Dierks Bentley's after hours set on the satellite stage guarantees that fans will go back with great stories for their friends. Watershed indeed!