Country style came to Wildwood like never before the night of June 20th as anxious concertgoers from a huge range of surrounding areas gathered at the foot of the massive stage. Once used by Pink Floyd and requiring over 300 laborers to assemble, this stage was fit for only the biggest of country stars – Kenny Chesney himself. A crowd of 20,000 fans buzzed excitedly as the sun set over the stage and the Ferris wheel twinkled to their left. And as far as attire, this sea of fans did not disappoint. Cowboy hats of nearly every color, camouflage, cowboy boots, frayed jean shorts, and bandanas were visible nearly everywhere you looked. Concertgoers of all ages and sizes celebrated with a festive, uniquely “Kenny” style.
A few fans welcomed Chesney to the Wildwoods by wearing his likeness or namesake directly on their chests. Friends Courtney McDevitt and Lyn Bradford sported white tanks bedazzled with rhinestones that spelled out “Kenny Chesney” in loopy capital letters. Where did they buy them? Surely I had enough time to purchase one for myself before Kenny took the stage… “I made them myself,” Lyn stated proudly. The red rhinestones faded into orange rhinestones which faded into blue rhinestones. The detail work that went into these tanks must have been time-consuming and tedious. But in my humble opinion, it was worth every minute. Courtney and Lyn’s one-of-a-kind tanks shimmered in the setting sun and will be a great keepsake of this awesome concert event. As we said goodbye, I noticed the rhinestone design on the back of their tanks! A blue spiral sun with orange rays, it made their concert looks even more impressive.
Next, I encountered Mark and Laurie Hess in their matching Kenny-enthusiast tees. Their baby blue tees featured a photo of Kenny standing on a beach in front of the ocean and were purchased during his Sun City Carnival Tour of 2009. The tee’s printed photo could not have been any more perfect for the evening’s scene. Mark topped his look off with a signature straw cowboy hat while Laurie chose a blue one. Together, they looked perfectly ready to sing along to Kenny’s classic “When the Sun Goes Down”.
Colleen Ferraro’s frayed fedora was a fun twist on the cowboy hats worn by the thousands of fans surrounding her. The straw fedora was accented with a multi-colored ribbon. Her feather earrings and fringe yellow purse added a funky, urban vibe to her otherwise country look. Her father sported a straw cowboy hat accented with steel pendants and a leather band. The dad and daughter duo definitely looked the part.
I spotted what appeared to be grass skirts at a distance, so I got closer to check it out. Friends Olivia Binczewski and Dana Winkoer sported orange and green grass skirts and Hawaiian leis bringing tropical style to the Wildwood beach. Olivia added a straw cowboy hat for a splash of country while Dana went for a light up, feathered crown. What was the occasion? Dana was celebrating her birthday with Kenny that night. She and her sister Erin wore pink tinted shades in the shape of birthday cakes to celebrate.
Most fans decided on jean shorts to complement their cowboy looks. I particularly loved Natalie’s high waisted, frayed denim shorts. “I cut them myself,” she said. With her white eyelet tube top tucked in, they looked Daisy Duke cute. David Ruf stood out in the denim crowd with his head-to-toe camouflage look. His camouflage tee blended with his camouflage cargo shorts, making him look ready to hunt country-style.
Sundresses were another popular choice. A few girls went for strapless and striped while others went for spaghetti strap, cotton sundresses. My favorite hair accessory? Hands down, the American flag patterned bandana. A few girls sported them as headbands while some guys tied them around their foreheads. Nothing says America like a country concert on a Jersey shore beach, and these concertgoers embraced this patriotic spirit.
By Megan Kummer