Eric Church at Rockstar Country Throwdown Tour, June 19, 2010.
Photos by Kathleen Gasperini and Tom Wallace
The Country Throwdown Tour, produced by 4 Fini, the creators of the Vans Warped Tour, wrapped up their successful tour this past weekend in Irvine, CA on June 19, and Mountain View, CA on June 20. The first of its kind for country, with a multi-stage format, sponsor activities, fashion merch booths, non-profits, and an up-and-coming singer-songwriter tent brought out an Americana side of music, fashion, and lifestyles across North America.
Headliners such as Montgomery Gentry, Jamey Johnson, Little Big Town, Jack Ingram, and Eric Church featured a mix of subcultures within country. For example, at the beginning of the tour Eric Church band exploded in popularity. Their mix of rock and country, powerful lyrics and style were a huge hit among young music fans, boosting them to the main stage.
Eli Young Band at Country Throwdown.
Like many tours, by the time it’s in its final shows certain trends and lifestyles have virally emerged via social networks and websites among youth culture, creating an entirely new genre that mixes parts of what people love most. With the case of Country Throwdown, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect as young artists such as Taylor Swift continue to top the rock charts, and the resurgence of songwriting form new roots in places like the tour’s Bluebird Caf%uFFFD featuring Heather Morgan, Ashley Ray, Brad Tursi Eric Paslay, Sarah Buxton, among others.
If ever there was a hotspot in this country right now, it would be Nashville, and the tour brought plenty of attention to the heart of American country music. Of course with this is cowboy/cowgirl fashion aesthetics featuring heritage plaids, cowboy hats, graphic T-shirts, a wide range of styles in cowboy boots, denim bootcut silhouettes, and short-shorts with paisley pockets peaking through. Long hair on girls with loose curls were part of the style, along with a number of flower sundresses paired with boots.
Country fashion with denim short-shorts, sundresses, white, long hair in braids.
Perhaps because of the location of the last shows, but the crowd overall was generally good-looking: Buff guys (many from the military) and tan, long-legged girls made for an exceptional street fashion report (see below). The crossover in many aspects were with brands and styles that also crossover with metal fans, motocross, and streetwear. Obviously plaid and heritage continue to dominate streetwear trends even upper urbanwear, but it’s at locations like this were you can see the roots of where such trends have started. It’s authenticity is rooted in Americana country styles mostly from workwear such as Wranglers and Lee jeans, flannel tops and button downs originally meant for outdoor labor and farming, and durable boots intended for riding.
The music stems around such themes and for many fans we talked to, it’s the mix of lyrics from great songwriting that is as appealing as the sounds. With the line-up at Country Throwdown, many fans said they were able to discover new subcultures within country that they never knew existed. This was apparent with the growing popularity of bands like Eric Church which mixes a rock aesthetic with country. Obviously country music also greatly influences other types of musicians in rock and even metal, which is one reason why the crossover of various genres is moving faster now than ever before.
Overall, in its first year, Country Throwdown proved that such a tour is a good idea, even in economic hard times, as it brought together a variety of talent and highlighted different aspects of the American lifestyle.
Sponsors of the Country Throwdown Tour included presenting sponsor Rockstar Energy Drink, supporting sponsors Wrangler, Best Buy; media sponsors GAC TV and PEOPLE Country, NAMM, BMI, Capitol, Warner Bros Nashville and Show Dog Universal.
Fashion from Country Throwdown provides insight on Americana trends. Loving the lasso accessory here and denim-short-shorts with pockets peaking out. Button-downs on both are also notable, including the flags on his shirt.
Shaney-Jo Darden working at her Keep-a-Breast booth on tour. The booth was packed all day with Country Throwdown fans interested in breast cancer awareness and the colorful merch and displays.
A Country Boy Can Survive tatt.
The Bluebird Cafe was an amazing area for up-and-coming singer songwriters.
Extreme cowboy merch included many statement graphics on T-shirts.
Different versions of the American cowboy.
More Eric Church–very popular band on Country Throwdown.
Fans in the stands showcase various country fashion styles including bright colored sundresses and plaid shirts.
Girls T-shirt merch tent with heavy graphics including crosses, birds, feathers, and wings. Part of country style.
One of many sponsors, the Great American Country blow-up tent.
Hairstyles on girls featured long hair in mellow curls with key hair accessories.
More hairstyles including loose ponytails, but again, long hair being key.
Jack Ingram and band.
Jack Ingram on the Main Stage.
Country Throwdown Keep a Breast art mold.
The Outlaw Stage was another popular area at the Country Throwdown tour featuring artists Tyler Reeve, Emily West, Jonathan Singleton and The Grove, and Heidi Newfield.
Cartoon and horror cowboy graphics on T-shirts at various merch booths provided a crossover theme with metal and emo merch.
It was cool to get your white cowboy hat autographed, especially by the DJ from Country 105 radio station.
Autographed guitars were part of several contests and give-aways.
Backstage groupies in great cowboy boots.
These boots are made for walkin%uFFFD….seriously though, the different styles of cowboy boots on girls and guys is a fashion report of it%uFFFDs own.
There were also many couples at Country Throwdown. This fashionable duo were typical of the scene.
Definitely a good-looking crowd.
Of course a country show would be incomplete without a cowboy hat booth. Metal studded appliques are key.
Country fashion again with short-shorts, cowboy hats, and trucker hats.
Backstage group-plaid hug.
Red polkadot dresses were also popular. Look is completed by unique cowboy boots and big bag.
Each show featured a real wedding–winners were chosen in a radio contest and the ceremony would take place at the Little Big Town chapel tent on tour. This went along with Little Big Town%uFFFDs current album theme. The wedding idea was an enormous hit–great sponsorship idea tied with a record label and connecting with fans.