My First Country Music Festival

Extraordinary Living, Travel & Leisure

This past weekend included a bunch of “firsts” for me. My first time using Airbnb to book overnight accommodations. My first time leaving Cooper home, with his new dog-sitter. My first Country Music Festival. And, my first time seeing Carrie Underwood, live! It was all just amazing!

I LOVE COUNTRY

So, I’m not sure if you know this, but I have a little country girl in me.

Maybe it’s the southwestern climate and dry air. Perhaps, it’s the outdoorsy, vintage, feel. Or, the “This is me. If you don’t like it, you can take a hike!” and, “Don’t. EVEN. Mess. With. Me!” attitude. Just so real.

I love country.

I love horses. Trucks. Ranches. I love cowboy boots. Leather belts. Cowboy hats. I love the feel of rugged. Hardworking. And strong.

Country is just so American. Not to mention, it seems like the country singers are better at keeping God bigger than their “Fame”.

I just love it, all! (Who knows? Maybe I’ll end up in Texas, someday. ; )

Anyway. So, of course, when I got wind of a nearby country festival that would host dozens of country singers, including headliners Blake Shelton, Miranda Lampert, and HELLO, Carrie Underwood!? (Have I mentioned that I LOOOOOVE Carrie Underwood?) I was sooooo there.

I believe this was the first Big Barrel Country Music Festival, put on by the creators of Stagecoach and Firefly. It was held at The Woodlands of Dover International Speedway, in Dover, Delaware. Scott and I have friends that live in Delaware, and so I decided to coordinate a fun weekend that the four of us could spend, together, at our first country music festival.

Airbnb

I tried to reserve a hotel, close to the festival, several months in advance, but they were all sold out. So, for the first time, I tried Airbnb. Have you heard of Airbnb??

Airbnb is a website for people to rent out lodging. It has over 1,000,000 listings in 34,000 cities and 190 countries. See Reference.

It’s somewhat like a Bed & Breakfast, but just about anyone, with extra space and willingness, can become a host of this mega-community, that started back in 2008 (by just two individuals).

I realize that this kind of lodging may not be for everyone, but just like “any” establishment, there are some really great finds out there! So long as you find hosts that have good reviews.

I am more traditional than Scott, so I was more reluctant to try it. After realizing there were no other options close enough to the 3-day festival (which was over an hour away from The House on High Street), I decided to turn to Airbnb.

Boy, am I glad that I did!

The Lodge in the Woods

Thanks to finding and booking a reservation through Airbnb, Scott and I stayed with extraordinary hosts, at a beautiful property, known as, The Lodge in the Woods. As the name suggests, this cozy home was nestled on a large piece of land, sculpted with a plethora of forest trees . The price for our room was very reasonable.  The house was stunning and spacious; with many rooms, including several spare bedrooms to choose from, an enormous recreation room complete with “billiards-type” games, and a large eat-in kitchen.

The hosts were amazing! More professional, friendly, and accommodating than most hotel managers I’ve ever come across. Just judging by the email exchanges leading up to our stay, I felt very comfortable with the woman of the household. She and her husband greeted us, upon arrival, as if we were long-time friends. (There was no “awkwardness” whatsoever!) I quickly got the impression that they were willing to either completely stay out of our way, or make us feel like part of their family!

There were a few other guests that stayed for this weekend, from neighboring states. All of whom were very pleasant to meet. One night, when it was raining, a few of them decided to stay indoors, order pizza, and just hang out with the hosts!

I’m sure there are all kinds of experiences with Airbnb. Fortunately, this one worked out great for Scott and me. Here are a few pics of The Lodge in the Woods.

Lodge in the Woods
Lodge in the Woods (Magnolia, DE)
Lodge in the Woods
Outdoor decks. Like, everywhere!
Recreation Room at "Lodge in the Woods" (Magnolia, DE)
Recreation Room at “Lodge in the Woods” (Magnolia, DE)

Lodge in the Woods

The Wine Room.
Our room was callled The Wine Room. It had a tiny balcony-deck with a pretty view of the forest.  The Lodge in the Woods.

Big Barrel Country Music Festival

The festival, which showcased dozens of top country performers, went on for three full days. Scott and I went, each night, to see the headliners: Blake Shelton, Miranda Lampert, and Carrie Underwood. (And a few others, like Lynard Skyner, Jake Owen, Kacey Musgrave, etc.) I don’t think I could do even one 12-hour day, let alone three in a row! But, of course, many people did!

Overall, it was an awesome experience. There were over 30,000 people there! Because of the rain (especially from the Firefly Music Festival the weekend before), there was SO MUCH MUD! Thankfully, I had worn cowboy boots, which I quickly realized have a better purpose than just looking cute! The crowd was….interesting. (Great people watching. As my video, down below, will show.) And, aside from just one afternoon of rain, I’d say everything else about the festival was as good as expected.

Scott and I (along with our friends) tried just about everything! We sampled delicious bar-b-que pulled pork, funnel cake, popcorn, cold beer, frozen margaritas, etc. We saw lots of farm animals and the humongous Budweiser Clydesdale Horses. We did a little bit of two-step. (Well, I did, anyway.) And, we watched outstanding performances.

I leave you with some pics. Hope you like ’em. Yeeeeeee Haaaaaaaaw!

(Sorry. That’s corny.)

First day at the festival. We brought "Beach Chairs". Because we are from South New Jersey! After this day, they restricted chairs to the "soft, folded ones."
First day at the festival. We brought “Beach Chairs”. Because we are from New JE-SEY! LOL. After this day, they restricted chairs to the “soft, folded ones.”
The boots are made for walking! So much mud due to a lot of rain the week prior. Now, I know that cowboy boots have a purpose!
These boots are made for walking! So much mud due to a lot of rain the week prior. Now, I know that cowboy boots have a purpose!
Lynyrd Skyner. No, we could not get that close!
Lynyrd Skyner. No, we could not get that close!
Big Barrel Concert 2015
Carrie Underwood. I wish there weren’t like 20,000 people in front of us! But, oh well.
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My cutey.
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Two of the three nights were this beautiful!!
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We’re such dorks.
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My Big Barrel Bracelet. (For admission.)
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Taking an afternoon break from the festival. Killens Pond, State Park. (Delaware)
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They had a HUGE tent set up for Country Dancing! Which I did. With a bunch of strangers. While Scott filmed.
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The Budweiser Clydesdale Horses. A bunch of them at the Big Barrel Festival.
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The festival “grounds” weren’t anything spectacular. But, there were tons of venders, two stages, a petting zoo, a very large Festival tent for dancing, etc.

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GREAT. PHOTO. BOMB!
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See? I can do this all day!
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The Big Barrel BIG Stage. Country musicians played throughout each of the three days.
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Me and my friend, Tina! Hay is rather itchy. Don’t let anyone tell you different.
Blake Shelton. A great performer with lots of personality!
Blake Shelton. He was great. Love his personality! Yes, it helps.
Can you see Miranda? Neither can I. For some reason. it was hard getting pictures without seeing "white".
Can you see Miranda? Neither can I. For some reason. it was hard getting pictures without seeing “white”.
Better photo of Miranda Lampert. : )
Better photo of Miranda Lampert. : )

And, the best video of the weekend! A fan that was soooo excited about Miranda Lampert that he stole the show. Literally.

Did you like the pics? I hope so!
Would I see Carrie Underwood, again? YES. (But, I’m holding out for concert seats.)
Would I attend another Country Music Festival? On a case by case basis. It’d have to be conveniently located with the right variables in place. Especially with friends that have a lil bit of two-step-rhythm-in-em!
Would I book and stay at a place through Airbnb? YES. It’s only a matter of time before you do, too.
Will I ever return to “The Lodge in the Woods”? DEFINITELY! I already miss it.

And, of course, I already miss Carrie Underwood.

EXTRA Ordinarily Yours

 

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