The annual Night in the Country music festival has drawn some of the biggest names in country music to the fields outside of Yerington, Nevada, since 2002. Musicians like the Band Perry, Eli Young Band and Blake Shelton have all headlined the three-day festival in years past, entertaining thousands of country fans and supporting the Boys and Girls Club of Mason Valley – the organizer and beneficiary of the event’s proceeds. This year’s event ran July 21-23.
In this, the 15th year of the event, an estimated 30,000 attendees were expected in Lyon County to see this year’s headliners, including the chart-topping musician Chase Rice.
Rice, a North Carolina native by way of Florida, released his first studio album “Friday Nights and Sunday Mornings” in 2010. After a few years of honing his signature bold and in-your-face live performances, Rice released the platinum selling single “Ready Set Roll” in 2013. The following year he followed it up with the No. 1 selling country, and third overall, album “Ignite the Night,” cementing his spot as a supporting act on Kenny Chesney’s Big Revival tour in 2015.
His mounting fame, however, holds little motivation for the musician himself – not when compared to the reaction he gets from his legions of fans when taking the stage.
“The sales and crowd singing back to me show that I am doing something right,” he said in a statement on his website. “I’ll never consider myself famous, but that’s what people are saying, so whatever … we’ve gone from that underground artist to ‘Oh, that’s Chase Rice, that guy who’s on the radio.’ And once you get on the radio you better hold on tight!”
Rice found inspiration in country greats like Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson, admiring the authenticity and grit of the Highway Outlaws, as they were known. His own storied life as a linebacker for University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NASCAR pit crew and contestant on the TV show “Survivor” are indicative of that same “live life on your own terms” attitude.
“I’m looking for people who are looking to have the best night of their entire life,” Rice said in his festival biography. “If you aren’t here to party, I’m gonna make you party!”