Despite the snow and temperatures in the 20s Tuesday morning, spring is actually finally here and hopefully warmer weather will also arrive soon.  With winter officially in the rear view and warm spring weather on the horizon, thoughts of summertime fun cannot be too far behind.  Which can only mean one thing, country music is incoming and incoming fast. To help you prepare, here is your guide to a country music packed summer of 2016! Between three venues in three different cities, the state of Massachusetts has more than enough country to keep you rockin’ like a wagon wheel all summer long. Fasten your seat belts Boston, it’s going to be one crazy country-music-filled summer.  Oh, the stories!

House of Blues Boston – Coming out the gate early the House of Blues Boston has some April shows that will get you right into the country mood.

On Monday, April 11th – the same day that the Red Sox open the 2016 Baseball Season at home vs. The Baltimore Orioles – you can go see Charles Kelley rock the HOB Boston. With only one recently released – February 2016 – album in his portfolio, Kelley is the least known act in the House of Blues’ spring line-up.  There’s not a tremendous amount of buzz surrounding Kelley just yet, but you could experience something special from this country music up-and-comer.

On tax day, Friday, April 15th, Frankie Ballard jams the HOB Boston.  Second on the spring country music schedule, Frankie Ballard amps up the excitement significantly. With a number of recent smash hits including “Sunshine and Whiskey” and “It All Started With a Beer”, the Frankie Ballard show will definitely be a great tip off to the country music season.

On Friday, April 29th, Montgomery Gentry closes out the month at HOB Boston. Montgomery Gentry is an absolute legend in the country music game, so one thing is for sure … a huge act like Montgomery Gentry in a small venue like the House of Blues Boston will make this a must-see show. Montgomery Gentry is responsible for countless monumental records like “Where I Come From” and “Something To Be Proud Of” and with General Admission tickets going for a mere $29.95, you’d be stupid not to catch this show.

Finally the annual Country 102.5 Block party, which takes place on Lansdowne Street in Boston, is a great way to spend a country packed Sunday Funday. Country 102.5 shuts down Lansdowne Street for their 4th annual Street Party starring Chris Young, Eric Paslay, LOCASH, Cassadee Pope, High Valley and more on Sunday,May 29th.

Country 102.5 Street Party

With headliner Chris Young, 102.5 did a great job of landing a solid lineup this year. It’s an epic day of live country music from today’s hottest artists right in the heart of Boston!  The reasonably priced $29 tickets are on sale now.  But heed this warning: they sell out fast, so click here to score you tickets to Country 102.5’s Street Party 2016 NOW!

Xfinity Center – Now on to the next venue, every year the Xfinity Center in Mansfield, Massachusetts delivers an impressive number of major country acts, and this summer is no different.

  • Thursday, June 2, 2016 – Brantley Gilbert
  • Saturday, June 11, 2016 – Dierks Bently
  • Tuesday, June 14, 2016 – Dixie Chicks
  • Saturday, June 25, 2016 – Keith Urban
  • Friday, July 22, 2016 – Tobey Keith
  • Saturday, July 30, 2016 – Darius Rucker
  • Friday, August 5, 2016 – Florida Georgia Line
  • Friday, August 12, 2016 – Rascal Flats
  • Saturday, August 20, 2016 – Jimmy Buffet
  • Saturday, September 24, 2016 – Brad Paisley

Coming out the gate scolding hot is country icon Brantley Gilbert. He’s Taking It Outside with acts like Justin Moore and Colt Ford joining him on his tour he’s going. No doubt this country crew will hit it out of the park. If you know anything about country you don’t need any background information on this All-American bad ass.

Brantley Gilbert

Other major acts like Keith Urban, Darius Rucker and Tobey Keith are the guys who come every year and tend to do the same show every time. But who really cares?  They always put on awesome shows.  So, perhaps you are a loyal fan of these stand out country guys who feels like you have seen them play too much already.  What does that matter?  You should still go because you know it’s going to be epic.  It’s like going home to Mom’s cooking; you know what your going to get served, but it never disappoints.

Now as for Florida Georgia Line, yes you will GO! Because you know that every song they put out is basically the best song ever!  Their performances are always amazing and every time you hear “Dirt” you get emotional. HOWEVER, Florida Georgia Line fans need to start petitioning for more new music! They haven’t released a single song since their “Anything Goes” album, which, by they way, was released well over a year ago in October 2014.

Florida Georgia LineAre you kidding me bro? How about digging your roots into some new tunes.  You put out one incredible album and one pretty good album and call it a day? Not if you want to be great!  Great artists follow up.  Great artists keep their fans fed. Also we need a new FLGL album for this summer! It should be a written law the FLGL has to release an album every June for the overall benefit of society. Regardless of that sad fact, I still recommend going to this show.  They always rock it, there’s no denying that.

If you are wondering why Jimmy Buffet is included on this list, shame on you. Buffet is a monument of incredible music, summer, happy hour and bliss. It would be a direct act of disrespect to our country for him not to be included on this list of summertime jams. Sure, he’s not all country, but he is a pure slice of Americana and his summer shows at Xfinity are not to be missed.  Just fast forward to 2:15 and you will see what I mean.

Finally onto the big one.

Gillette Stadium – We usually are only graced with one weekend of country royalty at Gillette Stadium each summer.  But this summer is different.  This summer is magic.

  • Friday & Saturday, July 15 & 16, 2016 – Luke Bryan
  • Friday & Saturday, August 26 & 27, 2016 – Kenny Chesney

Mid July we get some action from Luke Bryan whose following is mostly girls … very young girls.  But that should not dissuade you.  Having Chris Stapleton play with him will help make the crowd more diverse.  If you have the weekend free, definitely go to see this show.  Any event at Gillette is always an awesome time, but this show in particular promises to be legendary.  Now, That’s my Kind of Night.

Two summers ago Kenny did not tour, which may have been the most devastating thing to happen to the country music world, ever. In response, Luke Bryan filled in at Gillette and put on a pretty good show. But it just wasn’t the same without the king of country. Last summer Kenny toured with Jason flipping Aldean. Having Jason and Kenny on the same tour was like a dream come true for country fans. It just doesn’t get any better than that. It was almost too good to be true and quite possibly may have set the bar too high. It will be impossible to top last summer’s Country Fest. But at the end of the day Kenny is coming back to town and that is definitely good enough for me! Sure, Miranda Lambert may be opening for him and that’s a let down. But at least Sam Hunt is playing, ensuring one thing … the stands will be full of pretty girls.  And, I for one, will be more than happy to Take Their Time.

All in all Country Fest is paradise.  The entire state goes so if you don’t go you’re an outcast and when all you’re friends are telling country fest stories you’ll feel left out. I guarantee it.  So GO! Country Fest is just one of those things that’s mandatory for anyone who even likes country a little bit. The other thing that makes Country Fest at Gillette so great is that we are always the last stop on Kenny’s tour.  He always blows it out and that just makes things even more glorious.  So, don’t Save it for a Rainy Day.  Go to Country Fest this summer!

There you have it … your Guide to 2016 Country Music Summer!  In the words of Kenny himself, “don’t blink” because one minute you’ll be drinking a cold beer in the sunshine and singing along to your favorite country artists and before you know it, you’ll be shoveling snow once again and dreaming of the Summer of 2017.  So be sure to get your Country Fest tickets now!

See you out there ya’ll!  Please be sure to check out this new episode of my podcast East Coast Round Up!