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It’s official: Start getting ready for Throwdown II

Corey Smith drew a good crowd on a warm October Sunday afternoon. Organizers said they were pleased with the attendance over the three days of the music festival and that work is already starting on the 2013 show. (Oct. 14, 2012)

Corey Smith drew a good crowd on a warm October Sunday afternoon. Organizers said they were pleased with the attendance over the three days of the music festival and that work is already starting on the 2013 show. (Oct. 14, 2012)

ALBANY, Ga. — If Sam Shugart wanted, he could probably get elected mayor of Albany right now. Without a doubt, he’d win the votes of Throwdown Nation in a landslide.

But current Mayor Dorothy Hubbard doesn’t have a lot to worry about. All Shugart’s thinking about this morning is putting a dent in the sleep deprivation that he and his core team have labored under in the days and weeks leading up to the three-day Georgia Throwdown, which ended Sunday.

“We’ve got to tear this thing down tomorrow, so I won’t sleep much tonight,” Shugart said Sunday before Colt Ford’s set on the festival’s Flintco Throwdown Stage. “But sometime about Tuesday or Wednesday, I’m going to disappear for a while.”

Shugart’s exile will be short-lived, though. He’s already got his marching orders for Throwdown II, which he said is a 100 percent sure thing.

“The guys at (Mobile, Ala.-based) Huka (Entertainment) told me to take about three days off,” Shugart said of the management team that ran the three-day festival with uncanny precision. “They said it would be time to get to work on next year’s Throwdown right away.

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Dallas Davidson, one of country music’s hottest songwriters and one of the forces behind the Georgia Throwdown, takes to the stage Sunday on the final day of the three-day event.

“They told me the plan is to have the festival booked and the schedule planned, with sponsors in place, by Dec. 31.”

And while the thousands of music fans who made their way to the Exchange Club Fairgrounds were more than satisfied with the lineup of this year’s festival — which featured Sarah Davidson, Dallas Davidson and Rhett Akins, Corey Smith, Ford and headliner Uncle Kracker on Sunday — Shugart said fans can expect to have their socks blown off as the festival takes off in year two.

“This is only the beginning,” he said. “We’ve had a success this weekend in a big way, but the sky’s the limit from here.”

Sarah Davidson’s set featured songs she co-wrote with Dallas Davidson, her Albany-raised songwriting husband who has penned 13 No. 1 country hits and counting, and another local boy who’s done pretty well for himself lately, seven-time American Country Awards nominee Luke Bryan.

Dallas Davidson and Akins, two-thirds of the Peach Pickers, celebrated the songs they’d written that had become smashes for other artists, performing hits like Bryan’s “Country Girl (Shake It for Me)” and “I Don’t Want This Night to End,” Montgomery Gentry’s “Where I Come From” and Blake Shelton’s “Honey Bee.” They even gave a brief introduction to the title track of Bryan’s next album, “Dirt Road Diaries.”

“Did y’all folks here in Dirty County who knew Dallas growing up ever think he’d end up writing all these great country songs?” Akins asked, and there were a few good-natured “hell nos” from the crowd.

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Corey Smith performs Saturday on the final day of the three-day Throwdown at the Exchange Club Fairgrounds. (Oct. 14, 2012)

Smith, whose “Twenty-one” may be one of the most beloved songs in the state of Georgia, Ford and Uncle Kracker brought the festival to a fitting finish before a crowd that rivaled Saturday night’s in number and enthusiasm. Many who’d been there the night before to see the closing “Sweet Home Alabama” and the mesmerizing encore “Free Bird” by headliners Lynyrd Skynyrd were still talking about the performance of the legendary rockers Sunday.

“I played with Skynyrd at their Turner Field show after a Braves game a few weeks ago, and it was nothing like (Saturday),” rising country singer Cole Taylor said. “There were more than 50,000 people in the stadium (in Atlanta), but there was nowhere the energy that we had here in Albany. I think (Skynyrd) fed off the energy of the crowd and gave an unbelievable show.”

Eric and Michelle Calhoun of Albany, who were on hand for all three days of the Throwdown, said their only complaint — if you want to call it that — was that fans who spent most of their time at the main Flintco Stage missed some excellent performances by regional and area acts on the Phoebe Community Visions, Fox 31 and J&B Irrigation Saloon stages.

“(Veteran Albany rockers) Messendger were one of the highlights of the weekend for me,” Eric Calhoun said. “It was like they hadn’t missed a beat from 30 years ago.”

Like Shugart, the thousands who attended the festival headed happily home Sunday to replenish the fluids they’d lost in the perfect late-summer afternoon heat, rest their weary legs for a couple of days and then start getting ready for Throwdown II. It’s only 362 days away ... and counting.

Comments

FryarTuk 1 year, 10 months ago

That's the way it's done. Fantastic. Absolutely grand. I hope the promoters made some money from it. Great entertainment, great food, great weather, great crowd, great behavior. Shugart for mayor? Hell no, Shugart for governor!

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sue 1 year, 10 months ago

the crowd was just all right, the music was just all right. there's a lot of tweaking that has to happen to really make this successful for everyone.but shugart and the promoters made their money.

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ObjectiveEyes 1 year, 10 months ago

I only made it to Saturday and Sunday, but, my family had a blast! Already looking forward to next year!

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TrixibelleBento 1 year, 10 months ago

I'm glad that it was a great event, even if I didn't attend. The music wasn't my cup of tea, but I'm thrilled that the City of Albany had an event without a bunch of gang activity and unattended teens running amok. I hope that the second throwdown will include Phillip Phillips maybe? Now that would draw a huge hometown crowd!

It's nice to see that hard work rewarded.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 10 months ago

Get ready for Throwdown II but I sure hope we don't have to fill up one third of the newspaper every day for a year between now and then with Fletcher talking about it.

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Bulldawg 1 year, 10 months ago

I have throughly enjoyed Carlton Fletcher's articles about the throwdown. I had a great time at the event. I am looking forward to next year.

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soccermomlc 1 year, 10 months ago

I am wondering if I was at the same event the people that have commented above were at. I saw a very small crowd all 3 days. I was very disappointed and would have asked for a refund of the $85 I paid for my 3 day pass.

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sue 1 year, 10 months ago

It WAS a small crowd considering what they expected and what they charged vendors.

there have been many events in Albany with no gang activity and amok teenagers, but the herald is not about to report the good news about Nights at D'Town - a monthly event with 300 people, artists and music and NO problems. Flint Fest had no issues adn as far as i know Nites on the Flint had no issues either.................

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neliz 1 year, 10 months ago

there were over 15,000 people there throughout the weekend. that's a LOT of people. sue and soccer mom must have been peeking over the festival fences at 10AM looking for things to complain about.

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