Heavy rain had no effect on country music fans who had planned to attend the WMZQ Fest on May 18th in Washington, DC. The parking lot was filled with tables, chairs, grills and red solo cups. Fans were tailgating as part of the festival in which 98.7 WMZQ selected the perfect acts for this year’s WMZQ Fest. The side stage is where it all began.
Rachel Farley is no stranger to the area. Last year, she opened up for Jason Aldean at the same venue, Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, VA. This year, Farley’s set started differently than any other act. Her mom stepped onto the stage to show off her tattoos. I think it’s safe to say we know who Rachel gets her strong personality from.
Her first song was “Jet Black Angel,” but it wasn’t until she performed a new song she wrote in her hotel room that I felt she really came alive. She referred to the song as “Tone It Down,” and it really blew me away. It was well written and had a great message. The song is about being yourself no matter what. There is always someone out there who won’t like you, but you have to just stay true to yourself.
Farley closed her set with her latest single “Ain’t Easy,” and I think it was a great ending. Rachel Farley is talented way beyond her 18 years. She is the total package.
The next performer was the explosive Austin Webb. I met with Austin before he hit the stage and asked him how he felt about playing one of the biggest concerts in the DC area, he exclaimed excitement.
I’m honored. When WMZQ told me I couldn’t believe it. I went up to the radio station to do a performance and they asked me then, it was such a honor. I’m just happy to be here.
Also, I did my research on some of Webb’s fans and I had a fan question that I just had to ask.
“Erik Pauley wants to know who influenced your songwriting? He is a big fan and says you influence him so he wants to know who influences you?”
With a surprised look on his face Webb replied, “Oh wow. Thank you Erik. Kris Kristofferson influenced my songwriting, most definitely.”
Webb opened up his set with “Southern Belle” and the title says it all. I couldn’t help but laugh when he said, “This next song is about a woman, just like every other damn thing I’m about to sing.”
Webb’s personality isn’t for everyone and I think you have to be a special type of person to appreciate his humor. I think he is the best thing since sliced bread, honestly. His writing is unique and powerful. When he performed “Lemonade Stand” I really saw the maturity he carries. The crowd seemed to love his single, “It’s All Good,” especially the part where he did some kick ass harmonica playing. The boy is talented, no question about it.
“If you don’t clap along, I’ll point you out one by one.”
I was absolutely thrilled to see the next performer, Chris Janson. His energy is top notch and he makes you have a good time.
“If you don’t clap along, I’ll point you out one by one,” he told the audience. He is a total comedian but a true genius when it comes to music.
It’s obvious Janson is a family man as his wife Kelly and daughter Georgia were watching from behind the stage.
His first song was “Redneck Revival” and it was epic. There is only one word that describes that song: COUNTRY! It’s your blue collar, down home good ol’ boy type of music. He even states that he “took these songs right out of the trailer park.”
Chris Janson is real. He is a real person, playing real music. He actually was so good, that I forgot to take notes. My eyes never left the stage.
His most recent song, “It’s Better I Don’t,” was popular among the crowd. I could hear the fans singing over him and he was loving every minute of it. Entertainer Of The Year award should totally go to Chris Janson this year. See for yourself in this clip.
The last act for the WMZQ side stage was none other than Kristen Kelly. She was looking gorgeous, as always. Her voice is sure to blow you away. She has loud, powerful vocals.
One of my favorite songs she performed would have to be “Slow Hand” by Conway Twitty. She made the song her own, and I loved every minute of it.
She dedicated her single “Ex Old Man” to her ex husband & ex best friend.
“I would like to send a very sincere kiss my ass to my ex husband and ex best friend, wherever the hell they are,” she said.
Fans were in awe when she performed “He Loves To Make Me Cry,” which is her latest single. Her vocals were amazing. Kelly is most definitely one to watch for 2013. Her energy on stage is right where it needs to be and she is crazy talented.
On the main stage of the Fest, WMZQ had Thompson Square, Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan. I wasn’t able to stick around for those acts, but I’ve seen Luke Bryan a handful of times and he is always amazing. From what I hear, all three acts were outstanding.
Author: Brittany Vance
Southern WV born and bred who is a lover of all things country. She’s a mother of two and professional hell raiser. Brittany will pop in from time to time as a Guest Columnist who will present her unfiltered thoughts on the most recent country concerts and maybe an exclusive interview or two.