Starting with a four-minute intro video, Keith played his smash hit songs with a background of pyrotechnics and special effects. Clutching his omnipresent red Solo cup, Keith sang while two 7-foot cups inflated on both sides of the stage.
“I brought my own red Solo cup just for this,” Karen Simpson said, waving her drink container in time to the music. Her friend, Alex Mason, also carried an American flag to unfurl later. The two had come from Mobile, Alabama, for the concert because they had seen Keith perform there and knew his show would be super entertaining.
“He just looks like he is having fun, too,” Mason said. “We had the best day on the beach here today and now this is the perfect ending.”
A music festival organizer said that Saturday night’s event drew an estimated 13,000 people and praised Panama City Beach officials for taking “a big leap of faith” in bring the event to the city. He promised “even bigger and better” for September 2014.
The three-day festival featured more than 30 acts including The Charlie Daniels Band, Trace Adkins, Eli Young Band, Kip Moore, X Factor Winner Tate Stevens, Darryl Worley and Blackberry Smoke.
“We’re combining two things that people like – music and the beach,” said David Demarest of the Panama City Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Balmy weather helped draw a huge crowd all three nights. The main stage was constructed at Frank Brown Park while other stages were set up beachside at Boardwalk Beach Resort, the Seahaven and Edgewater Beach Resort. Gates opened for the daytime beach stages at 9 a.m. with performances starting at 10 a.m.
The headline stage at Frank Brown Park opened at 4 pm. with performances starting at 5 or 6 p.m. and continuing until the wee hours of the morning. Free shuttles operated between the venues and parking lots, including Pier Park where festival goers could park free and catch a shuttle.
“The whole festival was very well organized,” said Susan Carter of Nashville. “We parked at Pier Park and never had to wait very long for a shuttle. My husband and I are already looking forward to next year.”
For information about Panama City Beach: Go to www.visitpanamacitybeach.com or call 1-800-PCBEACH. #pcbeach