Jake Allemand and Kyle Hebert each held a cold beer in their hands Saturday as they listened to the sounds of the Chase Tyler Band performing on the Bud Light Stage just outside Tiger Stadium.
Armed with an ice chest full of even more beer to keep themselves cool on a hot, sunny day, the Raceland pair didn’t have a worry in the world as the music just kept playing.
“It’s the life,” Allemand said.
Life was good for Allemand, Hebert and thousands of other country music lovers who turned out for pre-show festivities on the first day of Bayou Country Superfest, most of which included the Fan Fest in Tiger Stadium’s west parking lot.
Allemand and Hebert, who donned cowboy boots, hats and sleeveless T-shirts, said this year’s Superfest was their second to attend.
While they were in Baton Rouge to watch big-name acts such as Darius Rucker and Luke Bryan, Allemand said, he was appreciative of the free Fan Fest full of live music and good food.
“It’s good to have something to do during the day,” Allemand said.
Hebert said he and Allemand wait all year for Bayou Country Superfest to arrive.
They’ll be able to wait again for next year, as Superfest officials announced Friday that the gigantic hootenanny would return to Tiger Stadium in 2014.
“As long as Bayou Country Superfest is playing, we’re coming,” Hebert said.
At the Fan Fest, hundreds of people dressed in their best cowboy and cowgirl attire wandered around, taking in the sun and mingling with a few Superfest performers at a meet-and-greet tent.
Music from the Chase Tyler Band, Mark Adam Miller and Yvette Landry serenaded the small crowd as fans waited for the main event to begin in Tiger Stadium.
Many of the concert-goers spent the day trying to beat the heat, waving paper fans in their faces and staying under what few trees and little shade were available.
Lauren Johnson, of Hackberry, and Joe Mesuch, of Sulphur, did just that by standing next to one of many water-misting fans set up in the lot near the stage.
The two said they arrived around 11:30 a.m. — or more than five hours before the main event started — just so they could have some tailgating-type fun akin to a fall Saturday afternoon before a football game in Death Valley.
Mesuch said they wanted to wander around to any spot where they could place their bag carrying all their festival gear.
“Pretty much where that bag goes, I go,” Mesuch said, pointing at the cooler.
Johnson said she enjoys Fan Fest because it’s an extra treat before seeing some of country music’s biggest stars cross the Tiger Stadium stage.
“You get to listen to music, have fun and get pumped for tonight,” Johnson said.
Some fans, like Happie Karty, didn’t need the misting fans to stay cool.
Karty, of Walker, and her family and friends sat right by the Fan Fest stage with several folding chairs, two umbrellas and an ice chest loaded with food and drinks.
Karty, who has ventured to Bayou Country Superfest each of its four years to date, said that at the first Fan Fest, she had to sit all the way by the fence at Tiger Stadium in the blistering sun because she and her friends didn’t have any chairs.
“The second year, we learned how to do it,” Karty said.
Karty said she enjoys the Fan Fest because of the free entertainment value it provides.
“They have some really good people out here every year,” Karty said.
While some tried to avoid the heat, others embraced it as they danced and sang along with the performers on stage.
Bob Dale, of Destrehan, along with his wife, daughter and daughter’s boyfriend, busted a few quiet dance moves as the Chase Tyler Band entertained the mostly pro-LSU crowd with Garth Brooks’ “Callin’ Baton Rouge.”
“It gives us something to do before,” Dale said of the Fan Fest experience.
Dale, also carrying a beer and wearing a “Quack Pack” shirt in honor of the A&E TV show “Duck Dynasty,” said he was happy Superfest didn’t start until 5 p.m. so he and his family could enjoy Fan Fest.
“It’s a great time,” Dale said. “It’s a good family atmosphere.”