I just got back from 4 days of camping on the plains of Regina, Saskatchewan for the Craven Country Music Jamboree. It was a fun weekend, but also something I never want to do again. NOTE: This post will be very long.
(All photos from Craven can be seen here.)
Friday started off terrible because as soon as we arrived (after an 8 hour car ride), we discovered that there wasn’t any water anywhere. When I go camping, I am used to having a water pump so that we can wash our hands. We were camping in the middle of a large field and there were no basic camping necessities except porta-potties. The only credit I can give to the organizers is that the porta-potties were emptied multiple times a day. However, the hand sanitizers did not even work in them. So no water and no hand sanitizer. It was gross. At least I had brought some with me, but how could they not even provide a basic human necessity like water. Ridiculous.
We set up our tents and headed off to the concerts. The first day of concerts was not very good. We thought the sound was way off and the music was too loud that you could hardly hear any of the vocals. I had to put in my earphones because I couldn’t stand how loud the music was. Plus, I was in a bad mood because there was no water anywhere, which meant dirty hands and so I couldn’t cross stitch while I was watching. Also, people were smoking everywhere and I felt like I was being suffocated. I hate smoking, especially in public places, and I was surprised, they didn’t make people go to a designated area to smoke. There were drunk people everywhere and we all know how I feel about drunk people. I had had doubts about going to this kind of thing and I knew better than to venture out to something that I knew I wouldn’t like. On Friday, all I could think about was how much I wanted to be at home curled up on the couch watching Notting Hill. I even considered hopping on a Greyhound bus to get home. Extreme, I know.
One of the performers that night was Brantley Gilbert, who is really more rock than country. Too much guitar wailing and rapping and not enough country. Plus, he had a pose with his hands that he had on the backdrop of his set. He would also pose like that after every song, he would do it and we would laugh our asses off because he looked ridiculous. So, we made fun of him all weekend and I think we nailed his pose perfectly:
The BEST part of Friday night was when Mark Miller of Sawyer Brown danced. It looked something like this and he would do something different for every song. It was hilarious! He loved being on stage and just danced his little heart out. He didn’t care what any one thought. So funny.
The final performer was Tim McGraw and he was the same as the last time I saw him: VERY COCKY. He never thanked the crowd once for cheering and he let the audience sing his songs more than he actually sang them himself. I paid money to hear him perform, not the audience. Ugh. He really thought he was something else. At the end of his show, he pretended to brush dust off his shoulders and he put his hands out to his side begging for more screaming and clapping. I don’t think I will ever go to another one of his concerts.
On Saturday morning we woke up at 4:30am to get in line in order to get good seats for the concerts at night. It was the night that the Dixie Chicks were performing so we wanted to make sure that we had great seats. It was raining when we woke up and that was totally unexpected. The weekend had called for sun and more sun. For some reason I had brought my raincoat, but that was it. We went and sat in line and it rained and rained. We were soaked. We were all in bad spirits. Only 3 out of the 6 of us had to line up as we could each take in 2 chairs. So the 3 of us that were in line were bitterly cursing our camping mates who were warm and dry in their tents. It stopped raining for a little bit and the sun actually peeked out for a few minutes. We had started to warm up and dry out when the rain started all over again. This time it came down in buckets. It was honestly one of the worst experiences I have ever had in my life. There was a girl in line near us who complained that she was getting wet, even though she had an umbrella and 3 garbage bags wrapped around her. I felt like screaming at her and telling her to stop complaining because some of us didn’t have any protection from the rain. Plus, she had this really annoying laugh and that just added to our aggravation with her. Ugh. Anyway, finally after 6 hours of waiting in line, they let us into the concert area and we managed to get front row seats!!! Plus the rain had stopped, so the day got a little better from there.
About midday, a few of my camping mates went to a short concert that I wasn’t really interested in. It was raining again so I decided to stay in the tent and take a little nap. They were supposed to be back in about 45 minutes. When I woke up a little bit later, I got out of the tent to see that the car was gone. I thought it was strange but maybe they had just taken the car and parked closer to the stage. I went back to sleep and another 2 hours went by and they finally came back. Apparently it was raining too much to see the show so they decided to drive 25 minutes into Regina to go shopping. I was so shocked. How dare they just leave me in the tent all alone and not even ask me to go with them. I was very hurt and also a little mad. But then they revealed that they bought rain boots, warm socks and plastic garbage bags for all of us, as well as dinner from Edo Japan. I became less upset after that because they had thought of me and brought stuff back. However, I was still a little miffed for being left out. Oh well.
Let me tell you that those rain boots were our savior!! After the rain was finished, there was flooding everywhere and it was super muddy. The first picture is from just outside our tent and the second is from where we were sitting for the concerts. DIRTY!
All the concerts on Saturday night were GREAT! The Oakridge Boys took the place of Randy Travis on very short notice, but it was fabulous to see them anyway. They were REAL country music. For a band that has been around for over 40 years, they had so much energy and really looked like they enjoyed what they were doing. They really had a blast on stage. One of the members had a really deep bass voice. It was so cool because it was is definitely something you don’t hear everyday. They even sang Amazing Grace as a tribute to Randy Travis and brought some of the audience to tears. They had a member that looked like Santa Clause too.
The Dixie Chicks were definitely the best concert of the whole weekend. Although there was not a lot of audience interaction, they sang with all their hearts. I saw them last in 2006 and they were even better because we were watching from the front row. I found it strange that the lead singer, Natalie, did all the talking. I don’t think we even heard Martie or Emily speak at all. Also, I think the whole band might be a little scared to talk at all because of the political controversy that happened when Natalie spoke about the president of the USA. It was a total overreaction in my opinion. Anyway, they rocked the show for sure!!
Sunday was our final day at the Jamboree and it was mostly a camping day. The sun had returned in full force and we spent most of the day playing card games and soaking up UV rays. We didn’t really care where we were sitting so we didn’t get up as early to get seats for the show. It was a nice afternoon and despite all the sunscreen we applied, we all managed to get a sunburn somewhere on our bodies.
The highlight of the day was seeing Chad Brownlee. I was the only one standing and dancing in my seating area and I had a blast. I knew all of his songs and I really enjoyed his performance. Last time I saw him in concert, I actually got to meet him! Well, guess what happened this time as well!!!!
After his performance, I decided to go to the bathroom and I walked past a tent where he was signing autographs and taking pictures! I had no idea he was going to do that! I just happened to be walking past at the right time. Yay. Besides, the Dixie Chicks, his show was the one I was looking forward to and enjoyed the most!!!
Scotty McCreery performed as well and I didn’t know anything about him except that he won American Idol. Although he had a beautiful voice, his performance was uninteresting to me. He only sang 3 songs of his own and the rest were covers of other artist’s songs. He was very energetic though. One thing I will say is that American Idol sure knows how to turn their musicians into performers. Scotty knew the perfect way to get the audience excited, especially the ladies.
Kenny Chesney played at night and he was great too. He really seemed to appreciate the audience. He even stopped singing a song momentarily to say thank you to the crowd for things they were shouting or posters they had. At times it honestly looked like he had tears in his eyes. He was so grateful. The complete opposite of Tim McGraw!!
So after all the ups and downs of the weekend, I have to say that, overall, I had a good time. I enjoyed most of the concerts and the company was wonderful. However, I do not think I would go to something like this again. It just isn’t the type of thing I like. Too many drunk and stupid people around to mess up the experience. The only way I would go again is if Garth Brooks performed and that will probably never happen. But who knows what the future will bring, eh?
Filed under: Music, Outside, Travel
Tags: brantley gilbert, camping, chad brownlee, cold, country, country music, craven, dixie chicks, kenny chesney, music, oakridge boys, outside, rain, road trip, sawyer brown, scotty mccreery, tim mcgraw, weather
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