DENVER – The Denver Area Business Association (DABA) hosted a luncheon at Verdict Ridge Country Club Wednesday, Jan. 30, to announce the entertainment lineup for the 19th annual Lincoln County DABA Fireworks Festival.
While past installments have featured a headlining act preceded by one or two opening sets, this year’s festival includes three performers worthy of top billing.
“Basically, I’m in Nashville within two weeks after the previous year’s show ends looking to build a lineup for the following year,” event producer Ronnie Caldwell said. “Once there I’ll sit down with agencies and just start bouncing around ideas for the following year. I’ll go see an act or two, and then around October is when we start getting serious with negotiations. What happens oftentimes is we have to find artists who are really wanting to do it because we do have a budget and we have to work within those parameters.”
First is Jeff Bates, a Nashville-based recording artist who has been a staple in the country music scene for more than 15 years. Bates has released a total of eight albums, including a Christmas album, and has delivered seven Billboard chart-topping singles with hits like “Long Slow Kisses,” “The Love Song” and “I Wanna Make You Cry.”
Bates developed a close relationship with the late, great Conway Twitty, and recently released an album that includes six renditions of Twitty’s classics. Loretta Lynn joins Bates on “After the Fire is Gone,” marking the first time since Twitty’s death that she’s recorded any music she ever performed with the country music legend.
While Bates has long been an established name in country music, the other two acts scheduled to perform at the fireworks festival are up-and-coming artists that hail from North Carolina.
In fact, Kelby Costner – who’s playing the fireworks festival stage for the second consecutive year – is a Lincolnton native.
Costner is currently working on his debut album with Grammy-nominated producer and Country Music Awards Songwriter of the Year Ross Copperman, who has worked with other artists like Keith Urban, Dierks Bentley and Blake Shelton. The lead single off that album, “I Need My Girl,” was released in January and has surpassed 75,000 streams on Spotify in less than a month.
Rounding out the entertainment lineup is Parmalee, named after the small eastern North Carolina town from which they hail. The band broke through in 2013 with the release of their single, “Carolina,” which became a platinum-certified, chart-topping hit.
“If you have your heart set on a certain act when you arrive in Nashville, it’s no different from having your heart set on a certain automobile when you go to the car lot in that the price is going to go up if you do that,” Caldwell said. “That’s why I want these artists coming to us, and we actually are starting to have agencies from all over the country call us wanting to play in Denver because we do put on a good show.”
While Caldwell orchestrates the deals to get these artists to Denver, it takes a team effort to put the festival together, and radio station Country 103.7 has been instrumental in helping put together this year’s entertainment.
“I think that this lineup is one of the best that they’ve had for the fireworks festival and it’s going to be an amazing show,” Country 103.7 Promotions Director Chele Fassig said. “It’s bound to be a really terrific turnout this year. Each year the event just keeps getting bigger and better, and this year will definitely not disappoint the crowd.”
The Lincoln County DABA Fireworks Festival is scheduled for 4 p.m. June 29 at East Lincoln High School, but Caldwell encourages everyone to arrive early to ensure a good seat. There is no fee to attend the event.