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The 2011 Heartland Music Festival was a success for our community. Even with changes to the date and name and reworking the venue, it was a success.
Hats off to the festival committee for doing an outstanding job in anticipating potential hurdles and handling issues in advance.
Or as Hardin County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Brad Richardson said at Monday’s meeting of the Elizabethtown City Council: “Everybody did their job and more. It was great.”
Freeman Lake again provided the backdrop and the community put its best foot forward as the 2011 Heartland Music Festival came off without a significant hitch. Rescheduling the event to avoid the blistering heat of August did not prove to work when 90-plus temperatures arrived in early June, but overall volunteers created a “Jim Dandy” event.
Crowds were down from last year’s mega-event, which included a Vietnam veterans tribute, but the atmosphere was spot on — particularly at the lakeside bandstand.
The crowds were treated to some good ol’ southern rock June 3 from Black Oak Arkansas and The Kentucky HeadHunters. Led by the one of a kind Jim Dandy Magnum, Black Oak Arkansas delivered an entertaining, fast-paced, high-energy show that went on for more than an hour. Jim Dandy then went into the crowd and signed autographs for 45 minutes while the stage was set for The Kentucky HeadHunters. Jim Dandy is deserving of his name as he and the band gave us their best.
We last saw The Kentucky HeadHunters in Elizabethtown in 1969. The Metcalfe County natives have done very well since those days. They have stood at the top of the country charts with “Dumas Walker” and are preparing to release a new album in August. Two band members, Fred and Richard Young, are brothers, while the lead guitarist, Greg Martin, went to school with them and may as well be a relative.
Aside from the barrage of foot tapping, move your hips music from The Kentucky Headhunters, the crowd enjoyed a memorable drum solo by Fred Young that at one point turned stickless. Fred brought the audience to its feet with his solo that included a unique bare-handed hammering of the drums for about 10 minutes. You’d expect to pay big money for a show of this caliber but admission was only $10.
Saturday night, festival goers were treated to The Monarchs cranking out favorite tunes that got everyone dancing. No strangers to Elizabethtown, The Monarchs always deliver a high-energy show.
It seems logical to end the 2011 Heartland Music Festival with a bang and that’s exactly what we got with the fireworks over Freeman Lake.
The organizers of the 2011 Heartland Music Festival really outdid themselves with the midway rides, food selection, balloon glow and parade. This is a celebration of people in our community, not just music we love.
It’s as much about our kids, our families and our neighbors as it is about the music.
And, of course, it’s also about the volunteers who make it all work.
To the organizers and volunteers of the 2011 Heartland Music Festival, thank you for a job well done. We couldn’t ask for more ... at least not until next year.
This editorial represents a consensus of The News-Enterprise editorial board.