One would not think that driving down country roads outside Oakdale would lead to a concert in the middle of nowhere – but that’s exactly what happened this weekend at the JH Ranch, site of the annual Sierra View Musical Festival.
The 48 acre ranch off 28-Mile Road had plenty of room for parking, a variety of vendors, a food court and RV parking and this year brought in acts including Craig Morgan, Frankie Ballard, and Love and Theft.
The concert started at 3 p.m. with some local bands like Remedy taking the stage to get the party started.
People from all over trickled into the event when the gates opened with the weather cooperating for the outdoor concert with the sun shining and a light breeze blowing.
The terrain is rugged with grassy hills and dirt patches like the pit in front of the stage where attendees got a chance to get up close to the artists and kick up some dust while they danced, cheered, and applauded. The only seating was in the VIP area where guests were seated at tables and served dinner, and dessert which were included in the ticket price.
Love and Theft duo, Stephen Barker Liles and Eric Gunderson who are the lead vocals and play guitar, hit the stage while the sun was still out.
“This is a great spot, really nice people and the weather is awesome,” stated Liles about the event after they performed. “Next week we perform with Eric Church and Aaron Lewis; we are always touring, for the past seven years now.”
They got the crowd going with their hits “Angel Eyes” and “Night That You’ll Never Forget,” along with some new tracks from their new album “Whiskey on my Breath.”
The duo also brought out McKenna Faith to join them in a couple songs and engage the crowd in a little musical competition.
Two years ago Ballard released his first single which took off on the country charts and was the start of his success of his first album “Sunshine and Whiskey.” Touring with Florida Georgia Line, Ballard stopped in Oakdale between shows to entertain his fans in the Central Valley.
“I really enjoy playing small towns,” stated Ballard. “All the people from small towns like this are big country fans too so it is always fun to play for a rowdy crowd and tonight was rowdy.”
Prior to his performance on stage Ballard held a meet and greet with fans and took some pictures with them.
Ballard is a guitar player as well and showed the audience his skills on stage which had the crowd on their feet and singing along to his hits.
Craig Morgan was the final act and he also did a meet and greet with fans prior to his performance. His band took the stage and engaged the audience with smoke, lights, and songs that the audience sang along with, cheering for more.
The annual summer concert in Oakdale has brought a variety of entertainers to the small community for the past seven years and is staged to benefit the Heidi Brunk Foundation, which issues music scholarships to high school students in the area.