Friday, June 26, 2009

Country USA Opening Day with Taylor Swift

The traffic into the large country festival located in Oshkosh, WI is quite the obstacle with only one single lane road leading to the premises and hundreds arriving every hour.

Coming in from the prominent highway, Highway 41, you wait a good 45 minutes to an hour to move a mere mile. Then you are forced to take an exit that there is no way to get into the turn lane to the festival. The community service officers direct you to go straight not allowing anyone to turn directly off the highway to the frontage road. This means you have to drive miles out of your way to turn around and wait another couple hours in dead stop traffic just to turn onto the road to the festival. Then once you get through all that and are finally on the road thinking your obstacles are done, you are met with a single lane road for the next couple miles that is moving slower than the rest of the traffic you just sat in. Needless to say I am way too impatient for all that. I pulled over and paid $5 to park in the parking lot to a warehouse, and started my hour long walk to the festival grounds arriving in half the time it would have taken had I drove.

Once arriving at the main gate you see the broad opening to the grounds. That would have been helpful five miles back where the traffic is still at a standstill. The entrance is practically empty as the cars can't get down the road fast enough to fill them. A whole lot of good that does everyone! There are shuttles driving people to parking on the premises, however, they will not assist any off grounds parking as they want you to pay their fees for parking. My advice to anyone planning on attending Country USA, leave at least three hours before you want to get there especially if you plan on parking on grounds. If you are running late, the traffic will not get better, so stop and park at one of the off grounds parking and walk or you will be late!

Once inside the gates, you are met with a wide variety of activities. The main stage is located to your left. It is a decent stage with two huge screens on either side. The ground admission seating is first then multiple different sections of various seating leading up to the stage. If you were lucky enough to get front row seating, you noticed that the seats started only a couple yards from the main stage with only security between you and the performers! To the right of the main stage is the Y100 tent where they have interviews with all the artists. It is a very intimate environment and a lot of fun! Here you can be a part of the meet and greets for most of the artists and even see the interviews done with all the headlining acts. Any one a fan of country should look into getting passes to this tent! It really is a fun and intimate experience. Even further to right, past the Y100 tent is where all the rides and carnival games are located. There is something for everyone here!

Taylor Swift

I adventured around the grounds getting acquainted with everything before making my way to the stage. I got to the main stage shortly before Taylor Swift went on. The security was very helpful and in good spirits! I was in awe of the friendly nature of the workers. They had been standing outside all day in 90 degree weather yet here they were still with smiles on their faces cracking jokes to anyone that would listen. They walked around holding real conversations with the people sitting in the VIP seating while everyone waited for the main act. It passed the time and helped everyone stay calm and excited for what they came for, Taylor Swift! The mayor of Oshkosh even came out during the wait.

Around 10:30 p.m., the music got louder and the lights dimmed. It was time.

Taylor Swift stood at the top of the left hand platform dressed in a band member uniform. Her backup dancers were on the lower level of the stage acting out a scene that could have taken place in any high school. The choreography was great! I love music and love dance even more. I was very impressed with the dancers and their moves.

"Hello Oshkosh!" Taylor said as she walked down the stairs to join her dancers. The crowd screamed, jumped, and went crazy. "How are you doing this evening?"

She took the audience by surprise moments later when three of her dancers tore the band uniform off her leaving Taylor Swift standing there in nothing but a tiny little silver dress glistening in the lights. Throughout the performance, Taylor played the guitar and piano while acting out numerous scenes from what reflected a high school musical. She touched on the many different struggles many teens face while in school including the popularity factor to having a crush on a guy that doesn't even know you exist. Taylor reached out to many of the youth in front of her by personalizing with their struggles through her songs.

“I was never popular in high school. I never had too many friends, but who needs friends from high school when you have thousands of your best friends right in front of you,” she said as she pointed to the crowds of fans in front of her.

Overall the performance went very well. There were many different costume changes to keep everything moving forward. The acts were tailored to the younger teen generation, but still exciting enough for the adults that also love the 19 year old country star. Taylor Swift is definitely a role model for all. It is no wonder she has become a country icon so fast and at such a young age. I expect to see big things from this young teenage star as the years go on.

For more pictures check (now posted!)

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