There’s the church you can go to on Sunday mornings, and then there’s Eric Church, the star tens of thousands of worshipping fans flocked to see Saturday night at Tuttle Creek State Park for the 19th annual Kicker Country Stampede.
Church, who’s been called a country “outsider” and “bad boy” by critics, played to a concert space packed all the way from the stage to the vendors and carnival at the back of the park grounds.
He kept the crowd roaring, especially during his most well-known hit, “Springsteen,” which is a tribute to one of his influences: the man, the myth, “The Boss,” Bruce Springsteen.
Saturday’s lineup also featured Logan Mize, Joe Diffie, Will Hoge and Lee Brice,
On Friday, headliner Luke Bryan closed the night and worked the crowd into a frenzy with his dancing and stage work.
Bryan, who’s largely considered one of, if not the top act in country music, saw a crowd that extended to the horizon.
He opened with his up-tempo 2013 hit “That’s My Kind of Night” — which is also the name of his tour — and finished with 2011’s “Country Girl (Shake It For Me)” during his encore (which he meshed with pop artist Jason Derulo’s “Talk Dirty To Me”).
In between was a list of other hits old and new, along with some short covers of George Strait and Garth Brooks.
“It was amazing,” said Ashley Hannah, a 22-year old Bryan/Church fan from Overland Park, after the concert closed Friday night. “Luke Bryan can shake it!”
Before Bryan, Friday featured The Railers, Tyler Farr, Joe Nichols, and “Goodnight Kiss” singer Randy Houser.
Jacob Beikman, 22, from Washington, Kan., was toward the back of the concert area just before Bryan’s show, and he attributed the large attendance for the night and the weekend overall to the talent.
“I think they have a great lineup,” he said. “The last couple years it fell a little bit, but this year’s is really good.”
On Sunday, Stampede closes with Greg McDougal, Jana Kramer — the lone woman on the mainstage for this year’s festival — Charlie Worsham, Dustin Lynch, and Chris Young, who wraps up it all up at 8 p.m.