Promoter tallies nearly 70,000 eager fans
Nearly 70,000 people attended the 2013 Bayou Country Superfest during the two days and nights of tailgating and concerts at LSU’s Tiger Stadium Saturday and Sunday, festival officials announced late Sunday night.
Fans came from 46 states to attend the country music festival with some traveling from as far away as Puerto Rico, Canada and Scotland, the festival organizers said in a news release.
Thousands of fans descended on the stadium Sunday afternoon for the second day of the pre-show festivities.
The crowd was sparse early in the day, but a few hours before the 5 p.m. showtime, the parking lots surrounding Tiger Stadium were teeming with country music diehards ready to see some of country music’s biggest stars, including Sunday’s headliner the Zac Brown Band.
Hundreds of those fans also took in Fan Fest, a free concert set up in the west parking lot of Tiger Stadium.
Some fans stood next to the Fan Fest stage while others found a place to sit or stand far back, either under shade trees or next to one of the many misting fans set up throughout the lot.
The Fan Fest audience grew when a former New Orleans Saint whipped out his guitar.
Kyle Turley, a Saints offensive lineman from 1998 to 2002, was the second of three acts to perform on the Fan Fest stage Sunday. Others were Jaryd Lane and the Parish, and Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue.
Turley is perhaps best known for throwing the helmet of New York Jets free safety Damien Robinson during a nationally televised game in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in November 2001.
Turley didn’t throw any guitars or helmets Sunday, but he did throw down a few grooves with his part-hard rock, part-country band.
“I see some Who Dats in the crowd,” Turley shouted from the stage, eliciting applause, before launching into a song called “My Soul Bleeds Black and Gold.”
Connie Gennaro, of Covington, snapped photos of Turley shortly after he began playing.
Gennaro, a Saints fan, said she paid a visit to the Fan Fest strictly because of Turley.
“He plays a good bit in New Orleans, but we never get over there to see him, so it was good that he could come here,” she said.
Aside from hoping for a little more shade to hide from the blistering sun, Gennaro and her husband, A.J., said they were having a good time at Fan Fest.
“It kind of gets you started before you get inside,” A.J Gennaro said.
Some fans couldn’t wait to get inside Tiger Stadium — so they arrived hours before Superfest started to get a good spot in line.
Sabrina and Lim Watson, of Belle Chasse, said they arrived around 11 a.m. Sunday so Sabrina could get a good seat to see one of her favorite performers, Luke Bryan.
“This is my Mother’s Day present, so I’m hoping it’s good,” Sabrina Watson said.
As an added bonus, the couple avoided the sun by hanging out under the stadium’s west gate overhang.
“As long as there’s a little breeze, it’s good,” Lim Watson said.
Tailgaters were out in full force. Tents were set up as close as the South Stadium Drive parking lot and as far away as lots near Burbank Drive.
Ron McDonald, of Metairie, and his friends and family camped out under the shade of a tree in the back corner of the old Alex Box Stadium parking lot.
Complete with plenty of chairs, food, beer and a Port-O-Potty stationed near them, McDonald said he and his crew had the perfect setup for a full day of country music and lounging.
McDonald and his family have tailgated each year since Bayou Country Superfest began in 2010 and regularly do the same for LSU football games in a nearby lot.
“It just gets you in the spirit,” McDonald said.
But probably the most prepared tailgaters were Sissy and Charles Lindsey, of Gretna, who set up on South Stadium Drive near Tiger Stadium’s south end zone.
The Lindseys and their family brought an open trailer loaded with a pair of grills and plenty of food to last all day. They had a pig roasting by 9 a.m.
But not only did they have their food, tent setup, and a pig roasting — they brought two hammocks with them for naps.
Charles Lindsey said they tailgated Saturday and left the trailer in the parking lot overnight so they could get out early Sunday and do it again.
“That’s the fun of it — sit around, cook up some things, drink and have a good time,” he said.