Concert Reviews

Country Night Lights is a Country Music Oasis in Athens


The sun was shining and there was a slight cool breeze at times Saturday afternoon in Athens, Ohio as people lined up at the gates of The Venue of Athens. Those lining up were there for one sole purpose to have a good time and enjoy some good country music. Country Night Lights 2016 didn’t disappoint one bit.

After the huge success of Country Night Lights 2015, Prime Social Media Group expanded the festival this year making it a 2-day event that also included an option to camp at the site. Amanda Sibert stated she really enjoyed the camping as it was more convenient than locating a hotel and finding a ride after the show.


Matt Goodrich

As the gates opened and the crowd rushed in to find the perfect front row spot for the day, Port Clinton, Ohio native Matt Goodrich started the show with some acoustic tunes. Goodrich was the winner of the Original Songwriter’s Contest sponsored by and earned his spot at the festival with his music. Getting the crowd warmed up, Goodrich sang a few originals of his own including the song “Walk” that won him the opportunity to open Country Night Light 2016. The crowd also really enjoyed his cover of Jason Aldean’s “Little More Summertime” and even sang along.


Mitch Kirkpatrick

Next up on the lineup was Lancaster, Ohio native Mitch Kirkpatrick who got the crowd going with his song, “B.Y.O.P.”(Bring Your Own Party) and he sure brought the party to Country Night Lights 2016. Kirkpatrick not only brought the party but the energy and stage presence too! His diverse sound of country rock really got the crowd going.


Shaina Rhodes

Shaina Rhodes followed Kirkpatrick’s set and brought her A Game to Country Night Lights. Her sassy personality and high energy made her set the best yet. Singing songs about having fun and drinking was definitely what Rhodes is all about and you could tell that from the moment she hit the stage. We especially loved her song “Seein’ Double” and so did the crowd. Another highlight of Rhode’s set was her cover of “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus. You definitely want to check Shaina Rhodes out!


Ryan Robinette

Ryan Robinette, hailing from Senecaville, Ohio took the stage next. Keeping the energy going Robinette killed it on a several covers including one by Jason Aldean. Robinette incorporated a couple pop songs into his set, which the crowd loved. Cleveland Country Magazine loves Robinette’s new single “For Awhile” so make sure you check that out as well. The mood was high following his set and the crowd was definitely very excited for the next four acts to take the stage.


Josh Thompson

Singer and country music favorite Josh Thompson was the first to kick off the more notable names of the festival and you could tell the crowd was ready. The crowd loved hearing favorites by Thompson including a few his more notable songs; “Way Out Here,” “Beer on The Table” and “Cold Beer With Your Name On It.” He also sang a song he wrote for Jason Aldean titled, “Any Ol’ Barstool” which was definitely a crowd pleaser.


Chris Lane

Chris Lane was up next and he turned the energy up a few notches. He got the Athens crowd up on their feet and dancing his entire set. From his smooth soulful new single “For Her,” which he dedicated to all the single ladies in the crowd, to his boy band/pop medley, that even featured a little Whip and NayNay, it was a flawless. It’s always great to see versatile country artists incorporate all genres into their sets and we definitely got our “Fix” of that with Chris Lane.


Frankie Ballard

The sun began to set but no worries here… The party was just beginning. Frankie Ballard was up next to shred it on that guitar. He kicked of his set with his self-titled song off his new record El Camino and from then on Athens was on fire for Ballard! A highlight of Ballard’s set included a medley of Elvis tunes and a smooth and soulful cover of the Bob Seger classic “You’ll Accompany Me.” The crowd sang along to Ballard’s hits, “Sunshine & Whiskey” and “It Started With A Beer.”

The one everyone had been waiting for all day was up next and screams from the crowd could be heard. The lights started flashing and the bass started bumping. Brett Eldredge turned the volume up to 10 and came out swinging with his hit song “Lose My Mind” and the crowd sure did.


Brett Eldredge

Eldredge then began to talk of his Illinois roots and his love for the Midwest which lead into another of his hits, “Wanna Be That Song.” Other fan favorites from Eldredge’s arsenal of songs included “Time Well Spent,” “Drunk on Your Love” and of course, “Mean To Me.” Not only did Eldredge sing his hits, he also incorporated some fun summertime covers including a cover by country superstar Kenny Chesney. The high-energy set never missed a beat and Eldredge owned the stage from the minute he walked on to the encore when he ended the night with his smash hit “Don’t Ya.”

Country Night 2016 sure didn’t disappoint this country music fan. One word to summarize Saturday Night in Athens….. EPIC!

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