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98 FM KCQ Country Music Fest

Sunday, 26 June, 2011 3:10 AM

Logo courtesy of 98 FM KCQ


* REVIEW: Over 95,000 fans pack Saginaw's Ojibway Island for the KCQ Country Music Fest *


Wynonna headlined the 98 KCQ Country Music Fest on June 18, 2011.

by Jason Rzucidlo



SAGINAW, Mich. -- It was the second largest crowd ever. The weather was perfect, partly cloudy and 80 degrees. Wynonna, Neal McCoy and The Carter Twins performed on the main stage. Margaret Durante and David Bradley entertained from the new faces stage. The setting was Saginaw's Ojibway Island. It was the 20th anniversary of the 98 KCQ Country Music Fest. More than 95,000 people showed up to enjoy the annual tradition on the day before Father's Day.

The day was Saturday, June 18. It was a little bit cooler than past Country Music Fests when temperatures are normally in the 90's. It was about 80 degrees this year and sunny. Most fans waited hours to stake our their prime viewing spots on the island. Water was the most popular item at the festival.

The festival was completely FREE and open to the public. In addition to the music, there was a classic car show and a motorcycle show. There were a lot more classic cars than last year. In addition, there was no shortage of classic cars. There was an arts and crafts tent and a children's area as well.

There was Jet's Pizza, hot dogs, ice cream, popcorn and other beverages. Cider Slush was another popular drink at the festival. Once difference from last year is the absence of Famous Dave's BBQ. I came to the festival with my mouth watering for a pulled pork sandwich. I was a little disappointed. I decided to go with a hot dog and a slice of pizza instead. Hopefully, Famous Dave's will return next year.

The up-front Section 98 seats were new this year. Those seats were $29.99 and were literally right in front of the stage. It was a treat for those who bought them because many of them had the opportunity to go on stage with the artists and get memorabilia signed that others could not do. On-island parking was also new this year. Those parking passes were $10 and were sold in advance of the show. That made it a little bit easier for those who didn't want to park off-site and take a shuttle.

It all began with new country star David Bradley. He performed on the New Faces Stage, which was just to left of the main stage at 11 a.m. In previous years, the New Faces Stage was about 500 feet away from the main stage. For whose who remember the Island Stage from last year, that is where the New Faces Stage was this year. Bradley came on at noon and played for almost an hour. He performed his debut single "Soak It Up," along with the new single "Hard Time Movin' On" and some others as well.

"I had a BLAST...might be sun burnt," said Ronda Matney on a Facebook group about the festival. "But it was worth every min of it!!"

Then, members of the U.S. Army Reserves were on hand for the presenting of our nation's colors. Birch Run's own Dani Vitany performed the national anthem at exactly noon. She did an amazing job at it, I must add.

The Carter Twins were the first main act to perform shortly after. They did all of their hit singles including some new ones as well. Josh and Zachary played "Heart Like Memphis," their debut single and "So What." In addition, they played some cover songs. The Carter Twins also performed "Photo Booth" and "Wish I Would've Kissed Her." They are currently working on a full-length album after their debut EP was released in 2009.

Margaret Durante was next to entertain audiences on the new faces stage at around 1 p.m. She played for about 30 minutes or so. The new country star performed her debut single "Mississippi's Crying" and "Paper Chains." She also did the two songs that she recorded for the new Disney Channel tween series, Shake It Up. There was some initial confusion in that Durante and Bradley would both perform at 11 a.m. However, the decision was made for Bradley to open the show and to have Durante come on later.

"I thought the best part of the show was Neal McCoy," said Raymond William Ferris on a Facebook group about the festival. "He was a lot of fun."

Neal McCoy was the second main act to perform on the big stage. He was probably the most energetic out of all the performers. I could tell the audience loved him. Eleven out of 16 people said he was best performer at the festival, according to a poll on Facebook. McCoy performed all of his hit singles as well as some cover songs by Charley Pride and Elvis. He entertained the crowd with songs like "Wink," "No Doubt About It" and "Billy's Got His Beer Goggles On." McCoy mentioned how he came to Saginaw after playing two shows in Detroit, which were taped for a PBS special to be aired in August 2011 on Detroit's WTVS-TV Ch. 56.

There was a short delay so KCQ radio personalities shot t-shirts into the audience. There was a check presentation from Northwest Energy, one of the festival's presenting sponsors, to the Salvation Army. Wynonna finally came on stage at around 3:45 p.m. She said it took her three hours to get ready for her headlining performance. Wynonna's outfit was very sparkly and glittery.

She performed all of her hit singles including her new song, "Love It Out Loud." I was wondering if she would bring her mother, Naomi, on stage to do a few songs. However, that never happened. Wynonna eluded to the fact that she performed at the beginning of the CMT Music Awards, with Kid Rock. I thought that he would definitely come out to do a song or two since he is from the metro Detroit area, but that didn't happen either.

"It was great--I loved Wynonna she was amazing!" said Debbie Teeter on a Facebook group about the festival. "Of course when she sang the Grandpa song I cried! This is the best FREE concert around!"

Wynonna had a standing ovation not only when she came out, but for most of her entire hour-long set as well. She graced the stage in ways that no one has done in a long time. Most of the people in the audience never saw her in concert before that day. Wynonna performed her hits "She Is His Only Need," "I Saw the Light" and "No One Else on Earth."

All in all, it was a great time at the KCQ Country Music Fest. It continues to be one of the biggest and best free festivals in the midwest. One of the best things about the festival is that it remains alcohol-free so you can bring the kids. After 20 consecutive years, the radio station definitely knows what they're doing. Thanks for coming out to the 98 FM KCQ Country Music Fest. We look forward to seeing you in 2012...

Special thanks to 98 FM KCQ for giving us preferred seating passes so we could take these AMAZING photos for you.

Related Story: PREVIEW: Wynonna, Neal McCoy to perform at 98 KCQ Country Music Fest



Neal McCoy performed the song "Kiss an Angel Good Mornin'" by Charlie Pride.



The Carter Twins signed autographs for their fans shortly after they got off stage.



Margaret Durante entertained audiences on the New Faces Stage.



David Bradley performed on the New Faces Stage.


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[ Return to the 98 FM KCQ Country Music Fest section ]


Each year, the 98 FM KCQ Country Music Fest takes over Ojibway Island in downtown Saginaw. The one-day festival includes music, a classic car show, a motorcycle show and an Arts and Crafts area. National artists perform on the Main Stage and Newcomers perform on the New Faces Stage. Sponsors of the festival include Wildfire Credit Union, Northwest Energy and Garber Bay Road Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep & Ram.


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Unauthorized duplication or use of Text, Site Template, Graphics and or Site Design is Prohibited by Federal and International laws. See our Notice/Disclaimer and Privacy Policy.