When someone says they are going to Cancún, Mexico for a country music festival they are usually welcomed with an inquisitive look in return. But after a week in Cancun for the Coyote Country Music Festival, I would say there isn’t another way I would rather enjoy a week in the famous party town. On June 27th we ventured south of the border to catch all of the action at the Grand Oasis Resort and witness, first hand, how the country world can really throw a party.
June 28th and 30th
The week began with two very well-know artists kicking off the bash. On June 28th, award-winning duo Montgomery Gentry started the week off right with an amazing performance from the Oasis Arena. Walking in to the arena brought a sense of familiarity and once the boys starting playing, everyone was soon on the dance floor singing along. With Eddie Montgomery spinning his mic stand with enthusiasm and Troy Gentry wailing down stage center with his normal “rock-star” aura, it’s no wonder that this team has been going strong in the scene for almost 17 years! They even played their first big hit (and one of my personal favorites) “Lonely and Gone.” Other highlights were rock-themed “What do You Think About That?” and another favorite, “Roll with Me.”
Former member of country trio Trick Pony, Ira Dean, opened up for MG and showed off his amazing skills as one of the top writers in Nashville right now. It’s no wonder, since he was one of the co-writers on MG’s hit “One in Every Crowd.” Ira performed throughout the week at other venues around the resort along with a myriad of other up and coming artists.
Two nights later was a real treat with John Michael Montgomery. Aside from being Eddie Montgomery’s younger brother, John Michael had extreme success in the 90’s on his own with 18 number one singles and over 30 top-ten hits! It’s not very often you get to enjoy a show where the artist can play all number one’s! One would think that someone with John Michael’s success and prestige would seem content with staying close to home but, on the contrary, John Michael seemed to be ecstatic to be at the event and he played all of his top hits including, “I Swear,” “Be My Baby Tonight” and “Sold (Grundy County Auction).” He even serenaded a couple who had gotten married that very same day at the resort
The night opened with teen sweetheart Mia Bergman. Only 14 years old (she had her birthday during the event), Mia already has a quite a catalog of songs and showed most of them off during the week. She would also open for the other main acts later in the week as well as play acoustic sets with the other artists during the day.
July 4th and 5th
I was a little bummed about being out of the states for the 4th of July but Colt Ford made it all better. Unsure what to expect due to the little exposure Colt has received so far, aside from his co-write on Jason Aldean’s smash “Dirt Road Anthem”, it was a pleasantl surprised when Colt came out and jolted the crowd with a big sound and rowdy vibe. His songs have the monstrous identity similar to Big and Rich but a serious outlaw feel, that of a Brantley Gilbert or Jason Aldean. His band is energetic and fun and his drummer even came out to sing a tune while Colt went back and held it down on the drums. Overall, the show was worthy of a 4th of July celebration that followed, complete with fireworks and dancing all night long!
The last night of the festival was all about the American Idol boys. Bo Bice, runner-up to Carrie Underwood in the 2005 season of AI, came on first and opened with an un-orthadox classic, “Vehicle.” Bice’s voice is strong and he is quite an entertainer. He even sang a few songs that he wrote and I was pleased with the talent in the song-writing. Bice’s identity is still not completely formulated since he didn’t originally start out in country. But his songs are close enough and he now has a great fiddle player in the band that brings it all together.
Josh Gracin, who finished 4th place on the 2003 season, followed and he immediately started reeling off the hits including “Favorite State of Mind” and “I Want to Live.” He later wowed the crowd with his rendition of Adele’s “Someone Like You.” Josh has amazing control of his voice and seemed very comfortable on stage.
Festivities During the Week
The Country Coyote Festival made sure that every day was filled with fun activities and great music for the guests at the resort. Along with Mia Bergman and Ira Dean, other acoustic artist included Chance Anderson, JJ Lawhorn, Morgan Frazier, David Ray and Brooke Burrows. Every artist played every day, sometimes twice, throughout the resort with a mix of originals and covers. They even had a stage facing the white-sand beach so you could listen to the sweet sounds of country while sipping a Pińa Colada with your toes in the sand.
Other events included an open mic night, a country hoedown, a Boots & Bikinis/Stetsons & Speedos contest and Oasis Idol, an event where resort guests had a chance to show off their skills in front of a panel of artists from the week. This was held at the Coyote Loco Bar, a take on Coyote Ugly and other honky-tonk bars, complete with a dancing bar in the middle and stage above the bar. DJ Dano from Atlanta, Georgia was there with his smooth voice to MC all of the action!
What an amazing week! With breath-taking scenery, amazing food, sunshine and great music, one can only wonder why this is only the first year that this festival has happened. One can only hope that the event carries on and becomes an annual event because it would be exciting to see what great things would be in store for the years to come!