The 22nd annual Kicker Country Stampede was hosted at the Tuttle Creek Lake State Park on June 22, 23 and 24. The three-day event featured 16 country artists and bands on the Cenex main stage, as well as dozens of other acts on the Tuttleville stage and the National Songwriters Association International (NSAI) Songwriters stage.
As per Kicker Country Stampede tradition, the event launched with the “Stampede Run,” which consisted of people rushing into the venue.
“I like the variety of artists that Country Stampede offers,” Renee LaFreniere, Country Stampede attendee and senior in communication sciences and disorders, said. “It’s my first year at Country Stampede, and I think it’s awesome. It’s fun to sit back and enjoy the huge crowd.”
Every year, Kicker Country Stampede brings together a diverse crowd of country music fans.
“It’s a really good deal for what you get for your ticket. There’s just so many bands,” Leah Burrows, Kicker Country Stampede attendee, said. “Country Stampede brings people here to Manhattan, which is good for the city.”
Kicker Country Stampede not only provided live entertainment, but featured various booths including food, drinks, apparel and other types of services and products.
“I like all the extra shops, so you actually have something to do if you don’t want to just sit there and listen to the music,” Samantha Brunton, Kicker Country Stampede attendee, said.
Kicker Country Stampede is known for its variety of live musical performances, but the event also gave the opportunity for businesses—including those that are not locally owned—to promote their products and services.
“Kicker is the title sponsor of Country Stampede, and we love it,” Jeremy Bale, Kicker Lifestyle Products brand manager, said. “We spend a lot of time helping them promote it, and I think the event does a great job in Manhattan because it’s bringing people from multiple states.”
The event not only brought country music fans together, but also provided a sense of community for people of all ages and those who are not from the Manhattan area.
“It’s a type of fair-concert mix and it brings a lot of revenue,” LaFreniere said. “It kind of gives a name to Manhattan.”
Kicker Country Stampede provided many experiences for its fans this year, which included certain types of VIP passes and promotional contests to give attendees a chance to win other special privileges at the event.
The music festival offered a limited amount of “Party Pit” passes. The passes were sold per artist unless fans purchased a super pass to gain access for all the performing artists. Access to these passes allowed fans to be up close and personal with their favorite artists while they were performing.
“We had Party Pit [passes] for Cody Johnson, and we were really up close to the stage. It was really awesome,” LaFreniere said.
In addition, Kicker Country Stampede offered campground sites to boost the fan experience for anyone who wanted to sleep outdoors.
“The camping experience is quite fun,” said Zach Kratochvil, Kicker Country Stampede attendee and junior in pre-journalism and mass communication. “Camping makes the whole Stampede experience worthwhile because you meet a lot of people who enjoy the same music as you.”
During the three-day event, Florida Georgia Line was announced as the headliner for next year’s Kicker Country Stampede.
“I would 100 percent return for next year. It’s one of the highlights of my year,” Kratochvil said. “Seeing all of the excited people and great musical acts is awesome.”