Watershed Festival 2017: Shedders Welcome
Watershed Festival 2017 takes place at the famously breathtaking Gorge Amphitheatre in George, WA. The venue has won multiple awards over the years for Best Outdoor Music Venue and Top Amphitheatre in big publications such as Pollstar Magazine and Billboard. In addition, Watershed Festival is a camping country music festival. Therefore, the best of the summer festival scene combines with iconic country music stars in an area of the country that isn’t as known for its country music scene. Shedders, or the fans who attend Watershed Festival, will attend the festival between today and Sunday. However, the music doesn’t start until tomorrow.
Friday, July 28th: Chris Stapleton
Chris Stapleton continues to tour throughout the summer of 2017, hitting venues all across the country until November. Watershed is his last scheduled festival date of the year. He is headlining Friday night, the first night of the festival. Stapleton has had an interesting year. His new album and “All-American Roadshow Tour” sparked a big 2017 for the country star, but he had to cancel tour dates due to torn tendons in his hand. Stapleton has struggled to keep up with the demands of a tour in the past, injuring his vocal chords a few years prior. Therefore, though he recovered, 2017 has not been without its downsides.
Stapleton is a rare find in modern-day music, especially country music. He’s not into “bro country.” He doesn’t sing songs about red solo cups, bonfire parties, “anything goes on a Friday night,” or any other of the crosses between pop and country that creep onto mainstream radio. Stapleton is truly full-blown country.
Stapleton’s Rise to Fame
At twenty-three years old, he finally relocated to Nashville and began to write hits for singers like Tim McGraw and even Adele. Fast forward fourteen years. Stapleton is almost forty. His CMA Awards performance of Traveller song “Tennessee Whiskey” alongside pop sensation and Memphis native Justin Timberlake, who also sang his song “Drink You Away,” catapulted him into a new league of legends. The cross-genre performance still hovered across the grittiness of his debut album Traveller, but most importantly, it showcased the vocal skills of both singers and verified why they’re successful.
His wife Morgane performs at his shows, singing harmonies and adding subtle instrumentals to enhance his performance. They met in Nashville, as Morgane is a country singer herself. Their marriage is one of a few in country music that adapts to onstage support.
During a recent tour stop in Buffalo, NY, Stapleton played the first new song from From A Room: Volume 2 titled “Trying to Untangle My Mind.”
Saturday, July 29th: Darius Rucker
Darius Rucker is a consistent figure in the country music scene. His new single “For The First Time” is the first new music fans can hear since his 2015 album Southern Style. His new album When Was the Last Time will drop October 20th. He has a few scheduled headliner shows this August and September, but expect more tour dates from Rucker nearing his album release.
Rucker is fifty one years old, nearing the latter part of his career. The thirty-plus year career in country music is a big ode to Rucker’s talent. The inspiration behind When Was the Last Time, according to his Billboard interview, is the question, “When was the last time you did something for the first time?” The idea of trying new experiences and taking chances is under the umbrella of his new album.
Rucker has not always been a solo country star. He originally was the lead vocalist for the Grammy-winning band Hootie & the Blowfish. Then, his solo career turned in R&B in the early 2000’s. It wasn’t until later in the decade that Rucker would find a groove in country music and sign to Capitol Records Nashville. In 2009, he won the CMA for New Artist of the Year, and he was the first African American artist to the win.
Sunday, July 30th: Old Dominion & Luke Bryan
Old Dominion is leading up to the release of their new album with a handful of singles this year. Their latest, “Shoe Shopping,” continues to demonstrate the band’s ability to infuse catchy lyrics into country music stylings. Old Dominion broke onto the scene with their debut album Meat and Candy that included radio hits such as “Break Up With Him,” “Snapback,” and “Song For Another Time.” Their gritty, deep tone compliments a pop-rock sound that allows for radio accessibility while not “selling out” to the pop music airwaves.
Old Dominion’s sophomore album Happy Endings is set to drop in late August 2017. So far, the three singles stay true to the country rock sound of Old Dominion made famous through the release of their 2015 album’s singles. Lead singer Matt Ramsey and other band members heavily songwrite, as they all started out on the Nashville songwriting circuit for years. Old Dominion then gained more steam when they open for major country artist Kenny Chesney on his “Spread the Love Tour” after songwriting for him in the past. “Break Up With Him” took off, and they opened for Chesney again. They’re also a supporting act on select dates of Thomas Rhett’s “Home Team Tour.”
Luke Bryan is a huge figurehead in country music. His catchy, party songs clash with his slow, sentimental artistic side to create a two-fold artist who raises a red solo cup as quickly as pulling out an acoustic guitar for a bonfire sing-a-long. Bryan hasn’t released an album since 2015’s Kill The Lights. However, he is a voracious tour artist, performing most of the year on multiple different tours in 2017. “Kill The Lights Tour,” “Huntin, Fishin’ Lovin’ Every Day Tour,” and his 2017 “Farm Tour” are just to name a few recent Bryan ventures.
Watershed Festival 2017 Activities
SO MUCH ROOM FOR ACTIVITIES. Music festivals are full of them. Watershed is no exception.
There are a handful of carnival rides on site such as the Vertigo Swing, Rockstar, Waterslide, and Giant Ferris Wheel. In addition, there are line dancing classes available, a roper station, and a Shedder Market full of merchandise for those excited about the festival’s country roots. For the party scene, a Foam Party, Misting Station, and Human Fooseball are other fun activities available on site.