Country group ‘excited’ for Petal’s annual Fall Festival


By Nikki Smith


Country music group Lonestar is bringing their show back to South Mississippi with a performance at Petal’s annual Fall Festival.

The show is just one stop on the band’s “Life As We Know It” tour that began earlier this year, which features hits from the bands latest album. “Never Enders” is the band’s 10th album.

“We are excited to get down there and play,” said Lonestar lead guitarist and singer Michael Britt. “We are happy to bring our show down there for y’all.”

After what Britt described as a crazy and busy summer, the band is beginning to wrap up the tour with a few more shows to round out the year.

Britt said Lonestar is happy to come to Petal and play a smaller venue. More intimate settings are the band’s forte, with crowd participation being the biggest draw.

“That’s right up our alley,” Britt said. “We are happy to be down there playing.”

He added that the band’s front man Richie McDonald is big on crowd participation. Britt and McDonald will also take the stage with Lonestar members Dean Sams, keyboardist, guitarist and singer, and drummer Keech Rainwater.

“It is better for him when he can see who he is singing to,” he said. “Immediate feedback from the audience is big for us.”

As for what the audience can expect from the show, Britt said to be ready to hear many familiar tracks as well as songs from the “Never Enders” album.

“It’s always a challenge,” McDonald has said. “But when we’re writing, we always try to stay true to how we’ve done it in the past sonically and lyrically, while still looking to take what we do to new levels.”

According to the band, each song on the new album ‘mixes artful craft and the poetry of plain speech, each melody rings clear and all of it reminds us of how emotionally powerful country music can be.”

The album is the band’s debut recording for Shanachie Records and was produced entirely by band member Sams.

“We come from an era of phenomenal songs,” Britt said. “When we got our first record deal, people like Gretchen Peters and Mike Reid were writing amazing stuff. I think we just want to aspire to that level of songwriting more than follow what’s on the radio these days.”

However, many old favorites will be performed, as well.

“We are fortunate to have a lot of number one hits,” he said. “Such as ‘Amazed’ and ‘I’m Already There.’”

Britt said their show covers a wide range of music, and they typically incorporate some familiar covers that the crowd can sing along with, such as “Walking in Memphis.”

“We like to end the show with a little craziness and act a little silly,” Britt added.

Many Lonestar concertgoers have remarked to members of the band about how they were surprised at how many songs they remembered from over the years.

The band will close out its tour at the end of the year. While they are not on the road, band members can be found in what they call “The Band Cave.” They describe it as a small warehouse space somewhere in Nashville decorated with mismatched chairs, rugs covering part of the cement floor, lights strung across the high, black ceiling and a Texas flag covering one wall.

This space has become the home away from home for the members of Lonestar, who have released several Platinum-selling albums, 10 No. 1 singles.

Over their 20 years of touring across the world together, they have also earned ACM and CMA awards.

A children’s village filled with blowup houses, a variety of arts and crafts booths, face painting and pony rides are just a few of the activities planned for the day. The children’s village will be open from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. There will also be a children’s village for smaller kids.

Several food vendors will be serving up a variety of treats throughout the day.

The festival will have something to offer for adults as well as the kids. The day will kick off with a 5K race. Car show registration will begin that morning as well, with no entry fees required. All donations from last year’s car show benefited Kids Hub, a child advocacy center.

Awards will be given for best paint, best interior, best stock truck, best rat rod, best modified, best Ford, best motor, best modified truck, best pre ’49, best pre ’69, best convertible, best Chevy, best Pontiac, best Dodge, best street rod, best hard top, best new school hot rod, kid’s choice, mayor’s pick and best in show.

For more information on the car show contact 601-818-1493.

A park map, vendor application, sponsor application and sales tax form can all be found on the city’s website closer to time for the festival, along with a map and other information on the festival.

For more information, call City Hall 601-545-1776 or visit the event page on Facebook.