Moondance Jammin Country music festival officially kicked off things Friday at the Moondance grounds just outside of Walker, Minn. Justin Moore and company came rolling into town around noon, taking in some sights in the beautiful Leech Lake Walker area. Moore is currently on the road for his second headlining “Off the Beaten Path” Tour. Opening up for Moore was Rodney Atkins and newcomers, Jon Pardi and Dallas Smith.
The weather started off raining on and off for most of the day before starting to clear up just shortly into Dallas Smith’s set. Smith, is no stranger to the stage, even though he now performs as a country artist, Smith used to front the rock band, Default. Nickelback frontman, Chad Kroeger was instrumental in the group’s success. It was easy to see the rocker come out in Smith’s performance. He did a great job keeping the crowd involved and interacted with them well.
Next up was Jon Pardi. Pardi seems like he is the life of the party. The guy has got a personality that is just over the top. He has incredible energy, and he clearly just wants his fans to have a good time, and they certainly did.
Following Pardi was Rodney Atkins. Atkins had a power failure during his set that appeared to have left the singer a bit baffled. Even so Atkins let the crowd know that wasn’t going to dampen his day, and smiled and cheered.
Before Justin Moore took the stage, there was a heartfelt tribute to Bill Bieloh founder of Moondance who died unexpectedly in September of 2010 from a massive heart attack. Images of man who lived his life to fullest by making strangers feel like family, were shown on the gigantic Jumbotron screen. There were a lot of tears falling as people gazed up to the screen, and an appropriate soundtrack with it, Luke Bryan’s “Drink A Beer” and a few others, along with some personal remarks from well known music artists including Sammy Hagar, George Thorogood and Kevin Cronin of REO Speedwagon. People raised their cups up high all through the fairgrounds and had a drink for Bill.
Justin Moore pulled out all the stops to wrap things up. Moore had some impressive lights, and stage set up as well. Moore appeared on top of a stage platform out of blue smoke. It was easy to see his silhouette with the highlights just lighting up his face and signature Stetson. Moore, just received his first ever Academy of Country Music Award for Best New Artist a few months back. Moore, jumped and kicked all around the stage. He had some amazing energy, his vocals never sounded better, and it was easy to see that he definitely was having a good time. Moore performed “My Last Day”, “Point at You” and his current single “Lettin’ the Night Roll” which just hit number one on the country charts. Moore is clearly headed for superstar status.
Moore also invited his good friend, Jon Pardi back on the stage and the two performed a rendition of Hank Williams Jr’s “Family Tradition” the crowd went crazy, as they sang in the chorus, to get drunk.
Moore put on an amazing performance, and even included his new single with Motley Crue frontman, Vince Neil, “Home Sweet Home” which he told the crowd to request it one it’s released.
It was a perfect night of some amazing music, and even though the festival was surrounded by rain clouds all through the night, everyone stayed dry. Jon Pardi took off with some festival staff so they could show him on the festival sites, while Justin Moore rolled out shortly after his performance ended.
Tomorrow Hunter Hayes, Joe Nichols, The Shuggah Pies and Lost Highway are slated to perform, which will once again be another day and night of sensational music.
Moondance Jammin Country tickets can still be purchased by calling 877 MOONJAM or visiting jammincountry.com.