WINSTED, MN – Despite the artist of that very song having to cancel his performance at Winstock due to being placed on immediate vocal rest, and that rain fell on the Winstock grounds most of the early afternoon Saturday, fans stuck it out and helped celebrate the festival’s 25th year like no other.
Winstock ’18 recap: As they say, when it rains, it pours
Before things kicked off Friday, Neal McCoy and his crew were honored by Winstock Country Music Festival Committee Chairman Dave Danielson and other committee members as the national artist who has performed at Winstock the most in its first 25 years.
“There is no other entertainer like Neal,” Danielson said. “We can’t thank Neal enough for being with us every step of the way, and we really wanted to do something special for him to show him our appreciation.”
McCoy has performed at Winstock in 1998, 2001, 2005, 2009, 2013, and now 2018. He received a plaque and cake in a pre-show reception. Regional artist Mitch Gordon also received a certificate for having the most performances of a regional act with five (2012, ’13, ’15, ’16, ’18).
Jordan Davis, Brothers Osborne, and Dierks Bentley capped the night Friday, including a brief tribute to Montgomery Gentry’s Troy Gentry during Bentley’s set with a snippet of the band’s hit “Hillbilly Shoes.” Gentry, a four-time Winstock performer himself, was killed in a helicopter crash in September of 2017.
Saturday morning brought rain, and also word that “When It Rains it Pours” hitmaker Luke Combs had been placed on immediate vocal rest and would not able to perform at the festival. In light of this, and with rain falling on the grounds until around 3 p.m., schedule changes were made, and all other acts were able to perform.
LANCO shortened its main stage set, and Trick Pony and Jackie Lee each performed one set on the West Stage instead of the regularly-scheduled two sets each. Lee was filling in for Walker Hayes, who canceled his performance at Winstock Thursday after he and his family tragically lost their newborn daughter. Sawyer Brown, another Winstock fan favorite, along with Billy Currington and reigning female vocalist of the year Miranda Lambert closed out the show Saturday night.
“The grounds and campgrounds especially were wet and muddy, but that didn’t stop the fans from coming in and making the most of it and enjoying the music,” Danielson said. “We can’t thank them enough for their understanding and support with the schedule changes and the weather. We’re determined each year to put on the very best event possible.”
Danielson also wanted to recognize the volunteers who work at the festival for pushing through the schedule changes and weather.
“It’s just unbelievable the amount of passion and dedication they have to getting the job done and ensuring the show goes on,” he said. “There would not be a Winstock without them, and that’s especially the case with the challenges that were presented this year. Our sponsors, as well, have been so supportive of us over the years.”
This was also be the final official Winstock for several retiring committee members – Bonnie Quast, Butch Amundsen, Dick Langenfeld, Judy Langenfeld, Tom Ollig, Lu Ollig, and Nancy Neumann.
“The amount of hours these folks have put in with Winstock is unmeasurable,” Danielson said. “We can’t thank them enough for all the work they’ve done and we’ll probably still see them all helping out.”
Winstock 2019 will take place Friday-Saturday, June 14-15, and ticketing will remain open until Monday, June 25, 2018 to reserve your VIP and camping for 2019. Ticketing will then shut down and reopen again in the fall. Watch winstockfestival.com and Winstock’s social media for updates. Artist lineup announcements for 2019 will also be forthcoming.