Fans fired up for Delaware Junction Country Music Festival

Campers busy themselves erecting camping tents in Harrington full of excitement for the Delaware Junction Country Music Festival. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers )

Campers busy themselves erecting camping tents in Harrington full of excitement for the Delaware Junction Country Music Festival. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers )

HARRINGTON — By 9 a.m. Thursday, country music fans already were setting up camp at the Delaware State Fairgrounds for the Delaware Junction Country Music Festival.

“There are 13 in our group and we headed down first thing,” said Lisa Nicholson of Wilmington. “We wanted to make sure we got a good spot and we’re looking forward to having a lot of fun.”

The weekend festival begins today, with gates opening at 1 p.m.

Ms. Nicholson’s group, which bought tickets almost as soon as they went on sale, brought plenty to keep them occupied until the shows start: corn hole, a homemade giant Jenga set and, of course, cold beer.

She said she’s most looking forward to seeing The Swon Brothers, who were featured on “The Voice” and all the headliners including Florida Georgia Line, Jason Aldean and Toby Keith.

JT Hodges, the first act taking the Main Stage at the festival, also is excited for Delaware Junction to get underway.

“Festivals are definitely different than regular concerts,” he said. “First off, there’s usually a lot more people and the energy is higher because a lot of people in the audience are there to see multiple acts and that just gets everyone in a really good mood.”

Mr. Hodges has been on the road since April and Delaware Junction is just one of several Live Nation festival stops he’s making.

He has been featured on SiriusXM’s The Highway country music channel since 2011, with his single “Sleepy Little Town,” spending two weeks in the number one spot on the channel’s countdown.

“It’s awesome because people have to pay for a subscription and they continue to subscribe and listen to the station that has supported my music for several years now,” he said. “It’s really the role the listers play on SiriusXM that makes it special and I’m sure some of them will be here at the festival, too.”

But Mr. Hodges’ music isn’t traditional country music, it’s a blend of country, pop and rock; a vibe that appeals to a wide audience.

“I like to write songs that appeal to everyone but I don’t try to be genre-specific,” he said. “These days, no one’s music library has just one genre and I think the most important thing is that my music is honest and that’s what all listeners want in their music.”

Sandy Bolyard of Townsend isn’t strictly a country music listener and has been following the music festival circuit all summer.

“We started the summer in June down in Nashville, went to both Firefly and Big Barrel and I guess we are wrapping up the summer here,” she said.

Her crew of four arrived early on Thursday, around 10 a.m., in their motor home where the next two nights will be spent.

“It seemed like the first few hours we were here, people were just pouring in,” she said. “You never know what to expect when it comes to camping at a festival so we wanted to be sure to get here early.”

Like Ms. Nicholson’s group, Ms. Bolyard plans on killing time playing corn hole, listening to the stereo and throwing back some cold ones.

“It’s great that after waiting about four months since we bought our tickets for this that it’s finally here,” she said.

As for those arriving today, the Department of Transportation is not anticipating traffic problems. Officials point to the multiple access points to the fairgrounds, off U.S. 13.

Officials advise travelers to the festival to follow the 15 message boards and heed the directions of traffic control personnel.

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