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<< Entertainment >>

Detroit's Downtown Hoedown

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THE WORLD'S LARGEST FREE COUNTRY CONCERT

* 2005 Hoedown Review *

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.com

Jason meets Friday night headliner JO DEE MESSINA!!

by Jason Rzucidlo
AmericaJR@AmericaJR.com


I absolutely love the Downtown Hoedown. It's three days of fun, music and dancing along Detroit's beautiful riverfront. It's considered the unofficial kickoff to the summer and is the most attended festival at Hart Plaza each year.

The Downtown Hoedown is recognized as the "World's Largest Free Music Festival." Other big events that take place at Hart Plaza include the Techno festival, which will be charging admission this year. The Praisefest may or may not go on because of budget difficulties.

The Hoedown is similar to Nashville's CMT Music Festival (formerly Fan Fair) but in Detroit. At the Hoedown, you can not only see and hear your favorite stars perform, they also give you a chance to get up close and meet them for an autograph or photo. Here, it's FREE and it's not as big. In Nashville, its bigger and you have to pay.

The entire weekend was predicted to be a washout. Meteorologists thought the weather would never stop raining. The only day that came with rain was Friday when the Kentucky Headhunters had to stop playing and everyone had to take shelter.

Blue County performed in the afternoon on day one of the Hoedown. They performed songs such as "That's Cool," "Nothin' But Cowboy Boots" and their new hit "Summer Song." They are two young guys who will go very far in this industry.

Cowboy Troy performed at the Hoedown on Friday. He is considered very controversial as a rapper entering the country music genre. There are people who either like him or hate him. He performed his hit "I Play Chicken with the Train." I also met Cowboy Troy.

Jo Dee Messina made her first performance at the Hoedown since 1998. She has had many new hit songs and albums since that time. I had the opportunity to meet her in the broadcast booth after her interview on 99.5 WYCD. She performed some of her hits as well as new songs from her album Delicious Surprise.

On Saturday, the weather was much warmer. It was the most crowded day out of the three. The musical lineup was the strongest in years. It included the likes of Hanna and McEuen, Hot Apple Pie, Miranda Lambert, Mark Chesnutt, Julie Roberts, Tracy Lawrence and Gary Allan.

I was not able to see the first two acts but the rest of the lineup was amazing. The weather was the warmest on Saturday with people wearing shorts and t-shirts. There was so many people that you could hardly move. Each hour, a new artist would take the stage. It was just one hit song after another. There's a great amount of variety at the Hoedown and that's one of the reasons why I love it.

On Sunday, I saw Aaron Lines perform his new hit song called "Waitin' on the Wonderful." He performed on the lower stage for day three of Hoedown 23. He also did some other songs as well.

I met Billy Dean and headliner Chris Cagle on Sunday afternoon. This year, I met five country stars. Last year, It was three and the year before two. It's nice to see how these stars take time out of their busy schedule to see the people who matter the most, their fans.

Bret Michaels really got the crowd going when he took the stage. This was his first performance as a solo artist. He serves double duties as a solo artist and as a member of the group Poison. He was one of the three judges on the Nashville Star TV show. He's got a new album called Freedom of Sound.

I also met local country artist Laura Wilkie in the broadcast center. She is an intern on the Doctor Don Morning Show heard weekdays on 99.5 WYCD.

Many stars use the Hoedown as an avenue for introducing new songs. New artists perform at the Hoedown and achieve great success. Just last year, Gretchen Wilson performed at the Hoedown and won the CMA award for Best New Artist.

This year, Edy's was giving away free samples of their ice cream. It was a real treat on Saturday, which was the warmest day. Dunkin Donuts also gave away free samples of their new Iced Latte.

Ford Motor Company increased their presence at the Hoedown. They had on display several Ford vehicles. Not only that, a special fan section with a race car. They were passing out frisbees, baseball caps and footballs to the crowd.

For the first time ever, I had an entire list of artist profiles. I gave you information such as birthdates, birthplaces, latest albums, hit songs and links to official artist websites. It served as resource for you to get acquainted with the stars. I was amazed at where these stars come from to play in Detroit.

I also made a special powerpoint presentation for you. It gave you background information on the Hoedown in case this was your first time. I also presented the schedule of stars and pictures from past years. It's still available for download here.

This year, I took the most pictures out of the past five years that i've been covering the hoedown. There is a total of 13 pages of pictures from this weekend. Each page has four pictures except the last ones. Click here for the very best pictures from the 2005 Downtown Hoedown. I divided it up by each day of the Hoedown so you can find your favorite artist faster.

I recieved so many calls and emails about the Hoedown. For example, a guy asked if he could bring his dog to the Hoedown. Another fan asked if the Forbes Brothers were coming. One man wanted to know if he could bring a cooler to the Hoedown. We really do appreciate the phone calls and emails.

To answer all of the above questions, here is what you can NOT bring to the Hoedown: pets, alcohol, video cameras, bottles, cans or coolers. We encourage you to check out our complete Schedule of Stars. Thank you for your cooperation.

I had a great time at the Downtown Hoedown. The only thing that could have been better was the weather. In Michigan, the weather can change in an instant. I would love to have it 75 degrees and sunny all three days. Right now, all I can do is dream. See ya at the 24th Annual Downtown Hoedown in 2006. WOW!!

Special Thanks goes out to 99.5 WYCD and WattsUpInc for providing me with media passes to give you the best coverage possible. Thanks again.

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.com

Jason meets country star Cowboy Troy!!

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.com

Jason meets the new duo Blue County!!

 

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