Organizers of major annual events always hope they can improve on the previous year's version. For the people running today's Fair Hill Country Music Festival in Cecil County, which concludes tomorrow, that should be easy.
Last summer, at a nightmarish inaugural festival, the Judds got upstaged by the mud. The "farewell tour" of this mother-daughter country music duo proved an immense draw, selling out 20,000 tickets weeks in advance. But buckets of rain fell the day before the performance and turned the earthen parking area at the fairgrounds into a quagmire. Traffic backed up for 12 miles along the narrow roads leading to the site; one Harford County family of five recounted how what would normally have been a 45-minute trip for them devolved into a five-hour "drive from hell."
So it comes as no surprise that the organizers of this year's festival have been holding their breath over the weather forecast. Tickets haven't sold as briskly as they did last summer and the price is twice as high -- $22 a person -- but the line-up on stage is packed with country music headliners: Dwight Yokum, Tanya Tucker, Patty Loveless, Clint Black, Mary-Chapin Carpenter, among them.