Big Barrel bows out after fun weekend

DOVER — “One, two, three, four” they counted as they stepped, “five, six, seven, eight.”

A crowd of people watched the dancers to learn the new steps in the cool, dark Harvest Moon Dance Hall on Sunday afternoon.

Big Barrel Country Music Festival, in the Woodlands at Dover International Speedway, wrapped up Sunday.

At the dance hall, Elizabeth Clayton, Grace Clayton and Kelly Albanese said they gave line-dancing a try and learned moves like “the hitch” and “the grapevine.”

“It was fun trying to learn — as well as you have seasoned people who were really good,” said Grace Clayton, from Newark.

Ms. Clayton, who described herself as “the aunt who like R&B,” said the music festival had been relaxed so far.

“There’s no tension,” she said.

She had just arrived that night to hang out, she said.

Her niece, Kelly Albanese, from Hockessin, had been there all weekend. She said that singer Blake Shelton, who headlined Friday, “was awesome.”

She came to the festival later on Saturday, when it rained, but she stopped at Tractor Supply Company on the way to buy rain boots.

The grounds were muddy at Big Barrel, and most visitors stomped around in dirty boots.

Despite the gloomy weather, though, most people said they enjoyed their weekend.

By 7 p.m., said Bill Lesmerises, from Felton, said that the rain had cleared up. “It was beautiful the rest of the night,” he said.

“It’s been laid back and mellow,” Mr. Lesmerises said.

Next year, he said, “they’ll get it ironed out a little bit” and it will be even better. One complaint, he said, was the high prices — $4 for a soda.

Mr. Lesmerises said that Blake Shelton was also was one of his favorite acts.

“He was good because he was a hell of a comedian as well as an entertainer,” he said.

He said that the festival seemed to draw a diverse crowd — attendees included all ages, from  teenagers to older folks.

But Anaiz Hernandez and Katelyn Gregory, who both went to Firefly Music Festival at the Woodlands last week, said that Big Barrel isn’t as friendly.

“I feel like Firefly is a lot more fun,” Ms. Hernandez said.

For Sunday night, Hope Cananen, from Wilmington, said that she was looking forward to Carrie Underwood.

She and Dave Doyle Sr. said they came to the festival because they love country music. Their favorite acts so far included Blake Shelton — “He is a premier entertainer,” Mr. Doyle said — Jake Owen and Chris Young.

They said they spent a few minutes at the dance hall and plan to go back later Sunday night. “That was really cute,” Ms. Cananen said.

“We have had a great time so far,” she said.

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