Meeting the Man Behind The Scene of Kenny Chesney’s Wildwood Show
It was 11 years ago today that Kenny Chesney played a concert on the beach in Wildwood, New Jersey.
It was because of that event that the idea of country beach concerts in Wildwood was seen as possible.
Fast forward several years later and the Barefoot Country Music Fest was hatched on the Wildwood Beach. This past weekend the third Barefoot was held. Next year's festival is already on the calendar for June 20 - 23, 2024.
When Chesney played the beach in 2012, it was a free show - but you had to have a ticket. Here at Cat Country 107.3, we gave away over 5,000 tickets - all in one big weekend. What a blast that was!
By the way, to all those who say, "Why doesn't Kenny do another free concert?", I'll say this: it cost a lot of money to do that free concert. The show was actually originally supposed to be a produced-for-the-internet concert, sponsored by American Express. It's never been publically reported how much American Express paid for the event, but it had to be in the MILLIONS of dollars. That's between the production, Kenny Chesney's fees, and the director's fees.
The event was produced by famed actor Johnathon Demme. Demme won the Acadamy Award for directing Silence of the Lambs. Over his career, he produced dozens of great movies. He also was very good at directing live music events. While Chesney put on one heck of a show for those in attendance, Demme was able to capture that magic for those tuning in online (and those who later watched it via DVD and other methods).
I actually met Demme the morning of the event in a Wildwood hotel, as he ate breakfast. Somehow I managed to have a conversation with him for 10 minutes without realizing he was that Johnathon Demme! (He only identified himself as "Johnathon" - the director.) Ooof!
By the way, whenever I speak with Chesney, he always reminds me that Wildwood was his favorite show ever!
Mine too, Kenny. Mine too.