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Opening night of 2014 Country USA is a logistic nightmare

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Luke Bryan and Joe Nichols at Country USA music festival in Oshkosh, Wis.

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The annual Country USA music festival commenced on Tuesday, June 24, in Oshkosh, Wis. The five-day event features premier country talent performing on a single stage at Ford Festival Field. Luke Bryan headlined with direct support provided by Joe Nichols.

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Torrential rains over the past two weeks wreaked havoc on the festival grounds, flooding most of the parking lots and campgrounds. This put major stress on both attendees and the Country USA staff, causing delays in the campground loading and forcing commuters to park in remote lots and shuttle into the site. Unfortunately, lots filled quickly and the remote parking locations changed frequently between 7 and 9 pm. The result was serious delays and abundant frustration for fans trying to get to the concert.

The concert went on as planned and the grounds were in decent shape despite the flooding around the perimeter. Joe Nichols performed an entertaining set in support of his latest album, "Crickets." Fans sang along with favorites, "Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off" and recent #1 single, "Sunny and 75."

Luke Bryan took the stage just after 11 p.m. for a 90-minute set. The rising country star has continued to gain momentum, booking a few dates in stadiums. It was a major coup for Country USA to secure Bryan for opening night of the festival. His latest album, "Crash My Party," topped the charts.

He opened with "That's My Kinda Night" and quickly worked through a bevy of hit singles. "Crash My Party," "Drink a Beer," and "Drunk on You" suggested the theme of the evening. He also added a handful of cover songs to balance the show. Bryan will be performing at Milwaukee's Summerfest music festival on Saturday.

Country USA continues through next Saturday and will showcase the talents of Brantley Gilbert, Gary Allan, Florida Georgia Line and Carrie Underwood as the respective headliners during the course of the festival. Other notable artists include Rodney Atkins, Randy Houser, Chris Young and Eli Young Band.

People planning to attend the remaining days of Country USA should check the event web page for up-to-the-minute details on daily parking and shuttle service.

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