I hate country music. Or, at least, I thought I did until my country-loving boyfriend dragged me to Country USA in 2011.
-Amazing selection of bands. Obviously, this is THE reason to come to a music festival like this. My impression of country music was totally turned on its head based listening to these incredibly talented, hip country bands. "Need You Now" was really popular back then, so I thought it was the coolest thing to hear Lady Antebellum perform that live.
-Good state fair-type food. I'm a health conscious eater, but I enjoyed indulging in a fried Snickers bar, trying a cream puff, and some pizza. Not bad, Country USA!
-Spontaneous chanting of "GO PACK GO." I'm an outsider from Chicago, but I am kind of in love with the special dedication Wisconsinites have for the Packers. It's endearing.
-THE MUD. Oh, my goodness, the mud. It was ridiculous. I wore flip flops the first day and, after almost breaking them because they were stuck in the mud, I brought rain boots for the rest of the time. It was really dirty, though. Most people stumbled and sloshed around barefoot.
-Drunk people. Almost everyone there was wasted and I felt uncomfortable with kids stuck there with their parents. "Do these drunk people think they're driving home tonight? Or are they camping there?" I thought each day.
-Highway 41. I'm not going to lie, I felt unsafe in the (extremely crowded) parking lot as we left one night because everyone seemed to be drunk. Not long after we finally got out and onto the Highway 41, the traffic stopped. It turns out someone had been struck and killed. We waited until 3:30 AM before we could leave.
3 stars because someone DIED. I know that you can only control drunken people's stupidity so much (I'm not saying that was necessarily the case for the guy who tried to run across the highway, but context clues), but I think the Festival should find some sort of solution. For example, free shuttling or something. Just SOMETHING. I don't care if the prices are higher. Safety of concert-goers should always come first.
5 stars for music and 1 star for security/safety. I want to totally love Country USA, but I would need to know that it will be safe for me to leave this place at night and not get hit by a drunk driver or have a drunk person dart in front of the car. All that being said, thank you, Country USA, for making a country music lover out of me!