Gretchen has always been a good friend to Carrie, this was a nice gesture on the part of Carrie.
MLive.com: Everything Michigan
Four-day festival in Farwell attracts country stars
By Jake MayThe Grand Rapids Press
FARWELL -- Move over Birthday Bash, there's a new festival in Michigan, and this one has camping, big-name stars and big aspirations.
The four-day Mountain Country Music Festival, which kicked off Thursday just north of Mount Pleasant in the small town of Farwell, features such superstars as LeAnn Rimes and Gretchen Wilson, as well as newcomers Carrie Underwood, Shooter Jennings, American Idol's Bucky Covington, redneck comedian Jeff Foxworthy and Sawyer Brown, who performed at the first WBCT-FM (93.7) B-93 Birthday Bash in 1993. They all will take "the largest stage in Michigan."
"It's not too crowded, the campgrounds are great, and everyone is so friendly -- the prices were good, too," said Robin Berry, of Boyne City. "I can't wait for Jeff Foxworthy. I watch his TV show all the time. He's crazy, but he appreciates real people. He's down-to-earth, like everyone else."
While some are looking for a good laugh with Foxworthy, other country lovers wanted to see Underwood.
"She's hot!" said 25-year-old Derek Evans, of Mount Pleasant. "She's the best (act) that they're bringing, and it's well worth the price of this whole weekend."
Phillip Coultrip, Silver Ridge Music Festivals CEO and founder, said Underwood was asked to be the final performer on Saturday, but she opted to give the top spot to Wilson.
"That was pretty cool," Coultrip said. "She certainly has the headliner status, but gave the spot to Gretchen, saying she is more established and deserves it. So, she took the earlier slot."
Coultrip said artists will be available for meet and greets before or after their sets.
Although many seats near the stage were empty, the hillside at the natural amphitheater was drawing in a crowd. Coultrip said the $8 million event will bring about 11,250 people to the 115-acre festival site. This weekend's B-93 Birthday Bash in Ionia is expected to draw more than 50,000 fans.
Thursday's soft opening featured Michigan comedy act Da Yoopers.
We didn't have any headliners playing tonight," Coultrip said of the sparse crowd. "But there is so much to look forward to: perfect weather, the most unique facility in the country and a picture path where people can walk right up to the stage, it's just gorgeous.
"I think it's the greatest country line-up playing in Michigan this year. I chose the people that had a lot of new albums out, like Joe Nichols, LeAnn Rimes and Carrie Underwood. And that's good for us..."