Tim McGraw and Faith Hill perform at the Huntington Center on June 8.
Whether it was Empress of Soul Gladys Knight kicking off the ProMedica Summer Concert Series at Promenade Park in downtown Toledo or country music icons Tim McGraw and Faith Hill on back-to-back nights at the Huntington Center, it was a big summer for concerts in the Glass City.
Promenade Park had a much larger catalog of concerts this summer compared to just four dates in 2017 through ProMedica’s series. A sprinkling of free concerts aside, mainstream shows in the park were ticketed at $10 and included the Gin Blossoms, O.A.R., KC and the Sunshine Band, and the Eli Young Band, while country artist Easton Corbin is set to end the series Sept. 21.
Perhaps you were among those who saw country duo Sugarland, consisting of Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush, perform a 100-minute set at the Huntington Center in August. The group had ended its five-year hiatus earlier this year. In May, country artist Chris Young sold out the 8,000-seat Toledo arena.
Centennial Terrace in Sylvania had another strong year with acts such as the Beach Boys, Styx, and Halestorm, while The Blade’s 35th annual Northwest Ohio Rib Off at the Lucas County Fairgrounds in Maumee saw artists like Michael McDonald, Morris Day, the Band Steele, and Lee Brice lure crowds.
Fans cheer as Lee Brice performs during The Blade's 35th annual Northwest Ohio Rib Off on August 18 at the Lucas County Fairgrounds in Maumee, Ohio.
Brice recalled playing at the 2017 Rib Off when he was reached by phone by The Blade.
“They are rabid country music fans,” he said of Ohioians. “I married Sara and came out of my South Carolina bubble. She’s from Youngstown, Ohio. You grow up thinking people up north aren’t as country. When you get up there, you realize that there are as many or more working-class, country people. They are exactly what country music is all about.”
At nearby Put-in-Bay, Ohio-bred Rascal Flatts drew nearly 10,000 to the second annual Bash on the Bay, a party with a literal island feel. Fans, artists, and equipment had to be ferried from the mainland by boat.
Country artist Brett Eldredge played at the Stranahan Theater in May, a show that was part of the singer’s first headline tour. He sang his songs “Somethin’ I’m Good At,” “Cycles,” and “Don’t Ya.”
“My goal is, how do I deliver something that no one else is delivering? How do I put on a show that when everyone leaves, they say, ‘I’ve never seen a show like that,’” Eldredge told The Blade before his show. “I want it to be my own form of art — visually, but also in the way the music is delivered. I want this to be one of a kind.”
Certainly, it’s been a one-of-a-kind summer for music in Toledo.
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