Monday, March 30, 2015


EVENT: Runaway Country 

ARTISTS: Gunnar & The Grizzly Boys, LoCash, Jana Kramer, Easton Corbin Lee Brice, Caroline Kole, The Cadillac Three, Love and Theft, Eric Paslay, Cole Swindell, Blake Shelton, Clare Dunn, Chris Lane, Joe Diffie, Thomas Rhett and Florida Georgia Line

DATES: March 20-22, 2015

VENUE: Wickham Park - Melbourne, FL

REVIEWER: Maria Talamo
Follow Maria on Twitter at @Maria_Talamo

Runaway Country is a three day country music festival that takes place every year at Wickham Park in Melbourne, FL. This year’s event featured 16 bands with an attendance rate of 40,000-45,000. People literally come from all over North America to see some of their favorite artists perform. Concert goers who travel from all over have the option of purchasing a camping area throughout Wickham Park and bringing in their tents or RV’s and camping in the park all weekend.

Day One – Line Up: Gunnar & the Grizzly Boys, Locash, Jana Kramer, Easton Corbin, Lee Brice
A little rain (or should I say a lot of rain) wasn’t enough to keep thousands of country folks from night one of the music festival. It was off and on for a while and in the beginning most people were hiding under tents but about halfway through when the rain became more consistent it became pretty impossible to stay dry so everyone went back to their seats and pretty much ignored the fact they were soaked. It wasn’t stopping the artists either. Every single one of them was out there having the time of their life, some liking it more than others. 

One of those artists (and in my opinion the best performer of the day) was Jana Kramer. Boy can this girl put on a show! I first fell in love with her when she became a regular on One Tree Hill and haven’t had a chance to see her perform live until now. If you want to talk about someone who knows how to own the stage and keep the crowd involved, it's Jana Kramer. She was literally interacting with fans in every area along the stage. During one song, she took as many selfies and signed as many autographs as she possibly could. She also handed the mike to a girl in the crowd and let her sing part of a song. Then, at one point she proceeded to read a phone number that was handed to her to the crowd (shout out to Carl). As the night went on the rain finally decided to let up a bit and ended just in time for Lee Brice to perform. At first I was a little surprised to see he was headlining, but by the end of the show I could definitely see why. He definitely knows how to bring a crowd to their feet.

Day Two – Line Up: Caroline Kole, The Cadillac Three, Love and Theft, Eric Paslay, Cole Swindell, Blake Shelton

Day two came around and the weather couldn’t have been any more perfect if we wanted it to be. Caroline Kole got the day started and completely blew me away. For being only seventeen years old this girl can sing! After her set, she went over to the merchandise table where she signed autographs and took pictures with anyone who wanted to see her. The Cadillac Three followed and, even after seeing them numerous times before, they still managed to amaze me. Out of all of their shows that I have been to, not one of them has ever been like another. One of the highlights of their performance had to have been when lead singer Jaren and drummer Neil drummed in unison during "Days of Gold". Their performance was talked about all the way until Love and Theft took the stage and then everyone’s attention was on them. The only negative thing that I have to say about these two guys is that they didn’t get to play long enough. I could watch them all day long. They have such a great time on stage and it shows how much they truly enjoy what they do. They’re also incredibly interactive with the crowd and wanted to meet as many fans as they could over at the merchandise table where they stayed until the very last person in line was taken care of. After Love and Theft, came Eric Paslay and if you haven’t been to one of his shows yet I highly recommend it. The first time I ever saw Eric he was playing at Prospectors Bar and Grill in Mt. Laurel, NJ. He has come a long way since then! To see him playing for a couple hundred people in a bar to playing in front of thousands of people at a music festival was truly something amazing. I’m glad to see all his hard work is finally paying off. Cole Swindell followed and he was probably one of my favorite performers throughout the entire weekend. I have been a fan of Cole for years and he is by far one of the nicest people I have ever met. He has such an excellent stage presence and is truly there for the fans and his music. One of the greatest parts of his performance was when he sang “Ain’t Worth the Whiskey” as he was unofficially celebrating it becoming his third number one. Cole was the perfect opener for headliner of the night Blake Shelton. Blake was absolutely incredible and such a down to earth guy. He performed some of his most recent songs, some of his older songs including his first single “Austin”, joked around and drank a lot! It was a night I will definitely never forget!

Day Three – Line Up: Clare Dunn, Chris Lane, Joe Diffie, Thomas Rhett, Florida Georgia Line

Day three started off perfectly with up and comer Clare Dunn. Believe me when I say this, she is going to be huge! I had seen Clare perform once before so I was extremely excited when I saw she would be performing at Runaway Country. She has so much energy on stage and is able to draw in the crowd’s attention. Her style reminds me of Miranda Lambert in so many ways, from her guitar playing to vocals to her stage presence. Next up came Chris Lane and I was more than impressed with him. He puts on such an incredible shows. He was all over the stage dancing and singing, clearly having the time of his life. If I learned anything from his performance it’s that I am now twice as excited for his upcoming EP to be released. Like a few others, Chris also went over to the merchandise table to meet his fans and he is a genuinely a great guy. I can’t wait to hear more from him in the future. Joe Diffie was up next and I have to admit I was slightly disappointed with his performance. I heard so much hype about him leading up to the weekend and guess I had bigger expectations of him than I should have. The next artist to it the stage was Thomas Rhett. A lot of the artists that performed over the weekend really knew how to own the stage but none of them could even come close to Thomas. His dance moves were on point! The best part of his performance had to be him singing the smash hit “1994” (which he just so happened to write and was also cut by Jason Aldean) and Joe Diffie coming out to perform it with him. Could that have possibly been any more perfect? I think not. Nevertheless I don’t think they could have picked anyone else more perfect to get the crowd hyped for the third night headliner and festival closer Florida Georgia Line. These guys can definitely bring the crowd to their feet. They have so much energy and pour their hearts and souls into their fans and music. Watching them going up and down the cat walk taking as many selfies as they could and interacting with their fans is always a great sight to see. They performed some of their major hits from both albums as well as an awesome medley towards the end of the show. All in all they were definitely the highlight of my entire weekend.

Tickets are on sale now for Runaway Country 2016 at March 18-20 at Wickham Park in Melbourne, FL. Grab some friends, get the tens or RV’s ready and start planning one hell of a road trip. Trust me you won’t want to miss it!

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