By Jim Davis
Christmas came a little early for organizers of the annual Country Concert at Hickory Hill Lakes.
Concert officials recently finalized the lineup for the July 10-12, 2014, concert, which will include the top three acts requested by fans in an annual patron survey.
“We try to have something for everybody, and the way things worked out this year we were able to get the most requested male artist (Luke Bryan), the most requested female artist (Miranda Lambert) and the most requested duo (Florida Georgia Line),” said Paul Barhorst from Country Concert. “To be able to get the top three categories just doesn’t happen all the time … so we’re very pleased to have them all at this point.”
Lambert will headline opening night of the three-day music festival, followed by Friday night headliner Brantley Gilbert and Bryan on Saturday.
Barhorst said signing Florida Georgia Line for the opening day ticket adds an exciting element to help kick off the 34th annual concert.
“They were named the Billboard Country Artists of the Year, so to be able to have them there in the 8 p.m. spot is great,” he said, adding the success of FGL’s debut album and hit single “Cruise” has kept them in the spotlight all year. “They could be headlining their own shows in 2014 and they were only available on Thursday … so we went for it and put them on at 8 p.m. before Miranda. That makes for a dynamic show.”
The rest of the lineup is filled with familiar faces and a couple of up-and-comers.
Tyler Farr joins Lambert and FGL on opening night, with Chase Rice (4 p.m.), Dustin Lynch (6 p.m.) and Montgomery Gentry (8 p.m.) preceding Gilbert on Friday.
Saturday starts out with newcomer Cole Swindell at noon, followed by country veterans Sammy Kershaw (2 p.m.) and Neal McCoy (4 p.m.), Thomas Rhett (6 p.m.), Lee Brice (8 p.m.) and Bryan (10 p.m.).
Early “best buy” ticket prices are available through Feb. 17, and Barhost said special holiday hours have been set for phone orders Monday, Dec. 23 (9 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and Tuesday, Dec. 24 (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.) at (937) 295-3000.
“They’re very popular Christmas gifts, and we have printable gift tags (online) if you’re a last-minute gift buyer,” he added.
Tickets also can be ordered online at www.countryconcert.com, where music fans can get additional information about the concert, camping accommodations and past shows.