Let the music begin. Runaway Country Festival is officially underway

 

By Peter Covino

A&E Editor

For one weekend at least, Osceola Heritage Park will be the third largest city in Osceola County.

It wasn’t even 11 a.m. this morning and the crowd of eager country-music lovers were already standing in line for the start of the Runaway Country Music Festival, a three-day event in Kissimmee.

They have traveled in RV’s, lots of them (there are 1,200 RV camping spaces and they are just about sold out), from states as far away as Michigan and beyond, to see the likes of Kenny Chesney (tomorrow night), Jake Owen (tonight) and Eric Church (Sunday).

With some 10,000 to 15,000 people expected each day of the festival, it will be small city.

“We rented an RV,” for the weekend, at $125 per day, said Gary Horkey, who drove down from Michigan with wife, Laura. The pair were busy setting up all those extra essentials of RV living for a long weekend, as concert time got closer Friday morning.

“We set up last night,” said Laura. “We are looking forward to it. We love it.”

The weekend will probably be complete when they are listening to Kenny Chesney.

“We have never seen him,” Horkey said.

The waiting isn’t the hardest part of the thousands of country music fans who will be sticking it out for all three days. Sure, it is hot. There temperature was already in the mid-80s, as noon approached, and will probably go to 90 and above on the asphalt and grass parking area.

“It’s all good,” said Ashley Watkins, who traveled with friends from West Palm Beach and arrived Thursday night.

“We will be making friends of our neighbors,” before the long weekend is over.

Many of the campers have the perfect solution to the summer heat in March — portable swimming pools.

“This is a mini-vacation for us,” said Chris O’Neil, who was relaxing by his mini-pool in the hours leading up to the afternoon shows, and the bigger events this evening.

The Clermont resident estimated they will have spent about $5,000 total for all expenses, but it will be worth it.

Nearby, in the mammouth RV and tent city, Seth Koen and friends had a different method of cooling off from the heat — they made their own portable bar out of plywood and other materials.

“We built it at home just before we came here,” and loaded it onto the RV.

Like so many of the weekend campers, they bought their tickets well ahead of the show.

Many of the campers were at the show last year, when it was held in Melbourne.

The 2015 event, drew fans from 39 states, 10 countries and just about every zip code in Florida.  With Osceola Heritage Park’s larger area and increased capacity, the expectation is that the 2016 event will be the biggest ever with a larger line-up, more campsites and more festival attractions. 2016 event plans include several new bars and taverns and two after hour music zones featuring bands and DJs until the early hours.

The complete schedule line-up and ticket information, follows.

 

FRIDAY, MARCH 18

RUNAWAY STAGE

2:00 PM – OLD SOUTHERN MOONSHINE REVIVAL

3:15 PM – JAMIE LYNN SPEARS

4:45 PM – NATIONAL ANTHEM & PRESENTATION OF COLORS

5:00 PM – CRAIG WAYNE BOYD

7:00 PM – OLD DOMINION

9:00 PM – JAKE OWEN

MY APARTMENT STAGE

11:00 AM – DJ SHANE

1:00 PM – LINDSEY BRYANT

4:00 PM – WHISKEY MYERS

6:00 PM – MARK CHESNUTT

8:15 PM – STRUNG LIKE A HORSE

10:30 PM – OLD DOMINION

SATURDAY, MARCH 19

RUNAWAY STAGE 

2:00 PM – LOCKHART

3:15 PM – LOCASH

4:15 PM – NATIONAL ANTHEM & PRESENTATION OF COLORS

5:00 PM – MADDIE & TAE

7:00 PM – THOMAS RHETT

9:00 PM – KENNY CHESNEY

MY APARTMENT STAGE

11:00 AM – DJ Mix, Line Dancing Lessons and Free Adults Beverage Samples

4:10 PM – LOCKHART

6:00 PM – RADIO ROMANCE

8:15 PM – DJ SHANE

10:30 PM – SAWYER BROWN

SUNDAY, MARCH 20

RUNAWAY STAGE

1:15 PM – GRAYSON ROGERS

2:30 PM – JUKE BOX MAFIA

3:45 PM – NATIONAL ANTHEM & PRESENTATION OF COLORS

4:00 PM – NEAL MCCOY

6:00 PM – CHRIS JANSON

8:00 PM – ERIC CHURCH

MY APARTMENT STAGE

11:00 AM – RISE & SHINE – FREE MIMOSAS, YOGA, DJ’S, HAIR OF THE DOG

3:15 PM – JOHNNY CASH TRIBUTE

5:00 PM – MO PITNEY

7:15 PM – TIM MONTANA & THE SHREDNECKS

9:30 PM – TIM MONTANA & THE SHREDNECKS

Dates & Times

Friday, March 18

1 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

Gates open at 11 a.m.

Saturday, March 19

1 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

Gates open at 11 a.m.

Sunday, March 20

1 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

Gates open at 11 a.m.

Tickets

Single day and three day General Admission tickets are now available at the Silver Spurs Arena Box Office.  Cash and Discover, Visa and Master Card accepted.

To purchase by phone call 321-613-4907

Reserved Seating

3-Day $319 – $299

Single Day $159

General Admission Seating

3-Day $129

Single Day $89

Kids 10 and under get in free with paying adult for GA only. Must present age ID