Farmborough Country Music Festival Arrives in NYC
Looking back, watching “Drunk on You,” trying to get my fix of this new artist, that I had recently stumbled upon via Nash FM in NY, I could never have imagined I would have that country concert experience right in Manhattan, NY. I found myself, last Sunday night, two short years later, in the middle of a Luke Bryan set, singing along, with not a bad seat in the house.
Living by the hectic NYC pace of life, we sometimes miss the simple things in life. For instance, if the ground is wet and muddy and you do not want your shoes to be dirty…take ‘em off! This laid back mentality, best summed up, as “idealistic in a realistic way,” is what makes a country song so appealing. The lyrics are about more than just drinking your worries away, but if all else fails maybe grabbing a beer and sitting back on a pier (or city bench) might just be the best answer.
Attending Farmborough this weekend was a welcomed change of pace. Still surrounded by the East River and cityscape (Empire State Building lit up the horizon) it felt like an oasis in the heart of Dixie. I started and closed out my weekend in “yee-haw” fashion with Canaan Smith and Luke Bryan. The inaugural country festival, known as Farmborough, was a three-day weekend of music, food and booze with two stages of performers and 31 artists. Taking place on Randall’s Island, there were multiple ways to get to all the action, ferry passes were offered for purchase with the three-day wristband ticket, you could hop on the bus from 125th street in Harlem. Another way to go was taking the 103rd street footbridge (my route of choice and a much less busy/seemingly unknown route). Deejay Silver kept the party going in between sets playing a variety of sing-a-long country songs, current and old favorites. I caught a bit on the smaller stage, Next on Nashville listening to The Cadillac Three and meeting Jon Pardi. The main stage graced by youngins’ such as Raelynn, Canaan Smith, releasing Bronco; his debut album, certified superstars like Brad Paisley and country heartthrob, not to mention recent ACM and CMA Artist/Entertainer of the Year, Luke Bryan.
Mr. Bryan included his first #1 hit single in his set as a ‘thank you’ to his fans. A streak of excitement ran through the crowd as he entered through the floor of the stage with tractor special effects lighting his way in the background. Chills ran up spines watching Mr. Bryan sing “Drink a Beer“ center stage as he took the audience down a notch but still had them toasting along. As with most of the artists, a current pop song was incorporated into each set. Luke had Randy Houser and Dustin Lynch joiingn him for Maroon 5’s “Sugar.” He also brought up two flag-bearing crowd members up on stage and sang his rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. The USA theme was a not- so -subtle theme throughout the entire festival. The crowd was mainly 20-something college kids, but it was not hard to spot someone younger or older. One little girl, around 4, was on her dad’s shoulders singing every note of Mr. Bryan’s hit “Crash My Party.” The cuisine, like at most festivals now-a -days, was overpriced but you forget that fact when drinking a 20+oz of beer from the top of the Budweiser rooftop (great view), in the Liquor Lounge, at the Malibu Beach House or eating a Jalapeno corndog.
Maybe you are a city girl, maybe you are a country boy, maybe you have friends in low places and maybe you used to make out on living room couches (maybe you still do). It does not matter! Everyone was invited to enjoy some fresh air, a beautiful view and of course, an embarrassment of riches that is great country music. Despite the rain Saturday, Farmborough, was a three-day celebration that started Friday at 2pm and ended with a firework spectacle late Sunday night after Luke Bryan closed out the show appearing back on stage for a two song encore. Keep the country coming we will be back next year!