The Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam just wrapped up their 6th annual event over Labor Day weekend, with artists like Chris Janson, Cam, Dustin Lynch, Morgan Evans and more helping bring in record numbers. The three-day festival, headlined by Florida Georgia Line, Eric Church and Thomas Rhett, drew in more than 73,000 over the weekend, making it a new record for one of Panama City Beach's biggest events of the year.
“We are beyond thrilled at how the whole weekend turned out," Rendy Lovelady, Executive Producer of the Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam told PopCulture.com. "All of our artists were amazing, and we feel like this line-up appealed to a broad range of music fans. We have to thank the city of Panama City Beach, the Bay Country Sheriff, Panama City Beach Police, all of our first responders, staff, crew and volunteers for making this weekend to remember – now we start on next year!"
Janson, who marked his first performance at the festival, was drawn to it by both the location and the loyal fans who were eager to meet the Grand Ole Opry member.
"We've just been meeting a lot of people, shaking a lot of hands, but that's all part of the gig, and we like that part too," Janson said of the Pepsi Gulf Coat Jam. "We had a great day at the beach, and our family enjoyed it. We're blessed to be here."
For Cam, who played the Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam for the second time, the festival brought back fond memories of earlier in her career.
"I came here two years ago and the reason this event is special to me is because I was here and there was a girl taking photographs," Cam recalled. "They usually hire someone to come take photographs of the festival, and I loved what she did. It just captured me, not even just how I looked but like how I feel on stage.
"I think I just messaged her and said, 'Hey, this is really weird but do you want to come on the road with me?" Cam continued. "And she said OK. She's been with me for two years. She helps me with everything. She does the branding, all the visuals. She helps with my wardrobe. She's one of my best pals now."
Not even rain or food poisoning could dampen Brett Young's spirits, who was also battling food poisoning before his scheduled performance – and unfortunately was the only artist whose set was canceled due to the weather.
"I've had the EMT's here," Young admitted shortly before his scheduled slot. "We've been doing IVs and some anti-nausea medicine; the cold sweats just left me about two hours ago, so I think I've turned the corner. We were supposed to golf this really nice golf course today, Shark's Tooth, and I had to cancel cause it just wasn't getting any better."
"I really, really love festival season," he added. "We're out with Thomas Rhett this year and we're going into arena season starting here in the middle of September, so it's always fun when festival season hits and you get to kind of be outside. Especially where we're at right now, we're not headlining very many of them, so we're out normally while the sun's still kind of going down, pretty sunsets behind you and good weather."
For Tyler Rich, the Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam became proof of how far he's come over the past couple years.
"This has been the first summer that we've gotten to play the main stage," Rich reflected. "We've been playing the small, tiny stages the past couple years, so it's been really cool to get up and get to play for all fans that are there waiting to see the headliner."
Other artists who performed include the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Chase Rice, Justin Moore, and Joe Diffie, among others. Lauren Alaina was scheduled to perform, but canceled due to a family medical emergency.0comments
Information on next year's Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam will be posted on the event's website as available.
Photo Credit: Getty images/Erika Goldring