Stars & Guitars invades Davis Park June 21-24

Rockford will host platinum-selling country artists at On the Waterfront’s Stars & Guitars summer concert series June 21-24 at Davis Park.

Stars & Guitars is part of the On the Waterfront, Inc., series of events, including Groove Walk (was May 12), The Director’s Challenge golf tournament (July 23), and the annual On the Waterfront Festival (Aug. 30-31 and Sept. 1-2).

Following is the lineup of Stars & Guitars performers by date:

Thursday, June 21—Sara Evans and Little Big Town

Friday, June 22—38 Special, Keith Anderson and Jason Michael Carroll

Saturday, June 23—Blake Shelton, Jeff Allen and Blue Country

Sunday, June 24—The Wreckers, Cowboy Crush and Jason Aldean

Stars & Guitars began as two weekends—one featuring hard rock and the other country. The country segment received much greater support, and the festival shifted to an exclusively country lineup.

“One of the interesting things we’ve seen in the past couple years with music is how much the genre (country) has changed, … even into the mainstream,” said Becky Genoways, On the Waterfront, Inc., president.

“One of the great things about the festival is that so many artists are each popular in their own right,” Genoways added.

Jimi Westbrook of Little Big Town, which has twice been nominated for a Grammy award, said, “The festivals are what summer’s made of for us.”

“We’ve been in that area before,” Westbrook added. “There are a great bunch of fans there who have always been supportive of country music.”

Regarding the band’s Grammy nominations, Westbrook said: “It’s really cool to be nominated. It’s a real pat on the back from your peers.

“You can’t help but think about the journey you’ve been on,” he added.

Westbrook said touring is vital to making a connection with the audience. “That’s why you do what you do,” he said. “It’s all about that time you spend on stage making a connection with people.”

“You want to make music that moves you,” Westbrook added, “and hopefully moves other people.”

Stars & Guitars brings people to town, something Genoways said is good for the downtown community. Through the On the Water, Inc., ZIP-code study of patrons, people from 27 states came to downtown, providing much exposure for downtown and the River District.

“Rockford has a lot going for it, and the more excitement we can generate for it the better,” Genoways said.

Genoways, who said live entertainment adds to the quality of life in a city, added, “Concerts and festivals bring people back together.”

“Being down at Davis Park at a concert at night is a great experience… in a beautiful setting,” Genoways said.

For more about Stars & Guitars or other On the Waterfront events, visit or contact the On the Waterfront office, 308 W. State St., Suite 115, at (815) 964-4388. Tickets are available online through or, or by contacting the Centre Events box office at (815) 968-5222.

from the June 20-27, 2007, issue

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