The second annual Music and Miracles Superfest brought well-known acts such as Blake Shelton, Thomas Rhett, Kelsea Ballerini, David Ray and Lynyrd Skynyrd to Jordan-Hare in the name of curing cancer and feeding the hungry.
The team began setting up the Wednesday leading up to the event, working 12 to 18 hours a day. The setup team has about 100 crew members, said Junior Lewis, production manager.
Aside from the main event, the Green Space was also set up for a day party. Taria, Adley
As the gates opened at 3 p.m. and fans flooded into Jordan-Hare, Ray prepared for the performance at 4 p.m. He was followed by Ballerini, who told the crowd they were the largest she thought she'd ever played for. Ballerini previewed a new song called "Roses" from the album she is currently putting together.
She said while working on her new album, she's found herself nostalgic at times. One of the lessons she has learned, Ballerini said, was that life hardly ever happens how she intends for it to happen.
"But I've also learned that it's okay to look back on that thing and realize and remember that it was beautiful for a moment," Ballerini said.
Between acts, two screens on either side of the stage showed a video honoring Kevin Brown, co-founder of Chicken Salad Chick foundation. Brown passed away from colon cancer in 2016 before the first Music and Miracles Superfest occurred. The screen read, "Tonight he has the best seat in the house. Thanks, Kevin!"
The Chicken Salad Chick Foundation raises money through the Music and Miracles event to research cures for cancer and feed the hungry. The concept was the brainchild of Brown.
Barclay Smith, director of the Chicken Salad Chick Foundation, said the event has a purpose, and, while it is important for people to have fun, it is also important to remember the reason why they are all there.
Ballerini closed with a message of excitement for Lynyrd Skynyrd, the next artist to perform.
Lynyrd Skynyrd opened to a roar from the crowd that was followed by a "Skynyrd can't hear you!" The Hall of Fame music artists took the stage by storm asking if there were any "die-hard Skynyrd fans" present. The response was positive. They dedicated their last songs to those in the military and encouraged the crowd to applaud those who had served or were current members of the armed forces.
The National Anthem was sung by Morgan Frazier, and Rhett's performance followed. Rhett got the crowd involved in his performance of "South Side" and asked, "Do y'all like to dance in Auburn, Alabama?"
Rhett took a fan's phone, snapped a selfie and returned it. He laid on the stage flat in the middle of a song. He welcomed a member of the crowd on stage to sing with him and ended up telling Brandon, the fan, that he shouldn't quit his day job.
Rhett's father joined him on stage and went through a few songs that they wrote together, wrote for other popular artists or whatever came to their minds at the time. Rhett closed out his performance with a "War Eagle" and a loud finale.
Blake Shelton, headliner and final act of the night, welcomed the light rain that was beginning to fall.
Singing loud and proud, Shelton stopped his fans saying, "I feel bad. Y'all are going to be so pissed at me."
"We have to talk about y'all's singing," Shelton said. "This is going to hurt y'all's feelings. But, I am a coach on The Voice, and I just have to do it — I just have to tell people what I think about their singing."
He told the crowd they had to work on it, but overall they had good pitch and tempo.
"Tonight is a special night," Shelton said.