Country Music Festivals

2016 Upcoming Country Music Festivals

It’s obvious that your favorite place to see country music concerts is at the Grizzly Rose, but you shouldn’t limit yourself to just one amazing place. A ton of country music festivals will be held all over the nation (and a few outside of it!) this year, and some of them are not to be missed. It would be great to hop on a horse and mosey over like a cowboy, but a good old-fashioned road trip is also a great way to experience some of these. So get your soundtrack ready for the drive, and pick out your next adventure!

Sunfest Festival

July 28-31 – Cowichan Valley, B.C.

Hello from up here! You all are beautiful! #sunfestcountry #party #music #cowichan #victoria #vancouverisland

A photo posted by Sunfest Concerts (@sunfestconcerts) on

This show on Vancouver Island is always a popular one, but this year has a few big names – most notably Carrie Underwood.

Red Ants Pants Festival

July 28-31 – White Sulphur Springs, Montana

#TBT with @turnpiketroubadours – Check them out in @rollingstone this month along with @corblund!

A photo posted by Red Ants Pants Music Festival (@redantspantsmusicfestival) on

Don’t be afraid of the red ants, because you’re sure to dance your pants off at this popular festival in Montana. The bands are slightly less known, but there are 16 acts that will keep you having fun!

Oregon Jamboree

July 29-31 – Sweet Home, Oregon

18 days until the Jamboree!! Y'all ready?! #oregonjamboree

A photo posted by Oregon Jamboree (@oregonjamboree) on

This festival is popular for the beauty of the area as well as the performers, but this year it’s being headlined by Carrie Underwood and Toby Keith.

Mountain Home Country Music Festival

July 29-31 – Mountain Home, Idaho

We put a night club in the middle of nowhere! DJKO keeping the party going after Blake Shelton. #mhcmf2015 #countrymusic #idaho

A photo posted by Mountain Home Country Music (@mhcmf) on

Have you ever been to Idaho? Have you ever seen performances by Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean, and Brantley Gilbert? Well, this is your chance to do both!

Watershed Music Festival

July 29-31 – George, Washington

Are we really doing not one but TWO weekends of Watershed? Is this real life!? #Shedders ??

A photo posted by Watershed Festival (@watershedfestival) on

If the name of this town isn’t enough to make you want to go, how about the chance to see Keith Urban, Jason Aldean, and Eric Church at an outdoor amphitheater overlooking the Columbia River?

Country on the River

August 4-6 – Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin

Wisconsin adds another big festival to the list, and this one next to the mighty Mississippi River gives you the chance to see Kid Rock, Lee Brice, Billy Currington, and others.

Boots and Hearts Music Festival

August 4-7 – Oro-Medonte, Ontario

Blake Shelton, Tim McGraw, Dierks Bentley, and many others will be performing at one of the biggest camping and country music festivals in Canada.

WE Fest

August 4-6 – Detroit Lakes, Minnesota

#fbf. Can't wait for 2016!

A photo posted by WE Fest Country Music Festival (@wefestmn) on

The 34th annual summer of this festival in Minnesota gives you another chance to hear the tunes of Tim McGraw and Kid Rock.

Flood City Festival

August 4-7 – Johnstown, Pennsylvania

This festival is held in Pennsylvania every August, and the aim is to hold a celebration of American roots music.

Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam

September 2-4 – Panama City Beach, Florida

2015 was great! Here's to an even better 2016! #gulfcoastjam #countrymusic #festival

A photo posted by Gulf Coast Jam (@gulfcoastjam) on

This major beach party held every Labor Day is a great one to attend, and this year you’ll get to see Lynyrd Skynyrd, Brad Paisley, and many others.

Did We Miss Any?

It’s tough to put together a list of all the best country music festivals that 2016 has to offer, but this covers quite a few of them.  Which one will you be heading to?

Best Live Performing Country Artist

Best Rising Country Artist
Vote on who you think is the best live performing country artist!

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History of Country Music

You obviously love the hootin’ and a hollerin’ good times that come out of listening to country music, but how much do you know about where it all started?  The square dancing and concerts you attend are pretty far removed from the first musicians who picked up an instrument and started singing away.  So pull on your boots and let’s stroll down memory lane to learn about the history of country music!

The True Beginning

There isn’t one exact time and place when country music was suddenly created, but it really seemed to pluck its way into life during the 1920s.  It started popping up in the Appalachian Mountains, especially in the southern regions, and it slowly started to spread around.

 Birthplace of Country Music

Rural Folk Music

In the early 1900s, the Appalachian Mountains were remote.  Not only did very few people live there, but most Americans didn’t even have the opportunity to visit.  Many of the settlers were European immigrants who were quite poor, and they were already used to living quite a tough life.

One thing they had, though, was their musical traditions.  They kept their music alive, and it started to evolve with the times.

America Needed Something New

This time-period saw a lot of changes and quite a few challenges, so Americans were looking for something that would help simplify their feelings in life and bring them back to their roots.  Country music became just that.  Slowly people started recording and broadcasting this “cowboy” music, and it became quite the hit.

The First Artists

There had been a few cases of people publishing the music from these remote regions, but 1922 saw a fiddler from Texas named Eck Robertson be one of the first to actually record some of his tunes.  Even though he was beat out by another fiddler from Georgia named John Carson, Robertson is often given the title as the first country singer.  He recorded two southern rural songs in 1923, and this event is the most widely recognized birth of country music.

John Carson Country Music

Atlanta Started it All

John Carson was one of many who had moved to Atlanta looking for work in the cotton mills.  It became the unofficial capital of country music because it gave a lot of opportunities to record the music and broadcast it on the radio.  However, it only stayed this way through the 1930s, and then Atlanta grew too fancy and the music moved on to Nashville.

The Evolution by Generation

The Atlanta crowd became known as the first generation of country singers, and the best way to track country music from that point on is by following each generation.

Second Generation

Roy Rodgers Country MusicThis second era took place in the 1930s and 1940s, and it started during the Great Depression.  The rough economy meant less records were selling, but the radio surged in popularity.  This spurred the beginning of some long lasting shows, including the Grand Ole Opry, the famous performance in Nashville that’s still going strong.  Also, western films started getting made in Hollywood, and they featured a lot of “cowboy songs” which helped the sounds travel around the country.

In these early stages, drums were heavily resisted and even hidden off the stage for many years.  A lot of new styles started popping up and gaining in popularity, some of these were honky tonk, bluegrass, and hillbilly boogie.

Third Generation

It was during this period in the 1950s and 1960s that a new bit of tension came up because country and folk had to start distancing themselves.  Even though the musical styles were pretty similar, the followers had different backgrounds and didn’t want to associate with each other.

Johnny Cash Country MusicThis was also the generation that saw the beginning of rockabilly, and the mix of rock-and-roll and hillbilly music became popular with some of the big stars like Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash.  At the same time, cowboy songs were losing their popularity.  This is the reason you hear record companies advertise country and western music.

Fourth Generation

By the 1970s and 1980s, the musical genre had evolved enough to create a few different major styles.  The sounds were going to much wider audiences with the start of country pop, but the more rebellious groups started kicking away with what was known as outlaw country.  This was even the point where people started to embrace country rock, and the likes of Bob Dylan managed to take off.

Fifth Generation

The fifth generation took place in the 1990s, and this was the era when FM radio was expanded, and country music took the opportunity to sing to more ears.  It helped that rock music was becoming more “alternative,” so many turned to the more melodic tunes of the country singers.  Also, Garth Brooks blazed a trail for a bunch of performers to expand globally, and the rest of the world became exposed to the musical style.

Sixth Generation

This is the generation where we are now, so there’s no need to go into the details.  Get out there and live it!