Los Angeles-based rising country music star Alexandria Corn will be enjoying an entirely different perspective from years past when country radio station WFRG-FM 104.3 (Big Frog 104)’s annual FrogFest returns this Saturday, June 10.
After spending the past five years’ worth of shows cheering on the performers from the audience, Corn — a New Hartford native — will finally appear on the FrogFest 29 stage. Corn said she has dreamed of being a part of the country music festival ever since she realized her own aspirations to perform. She even had some close musical friends play a few years ago, and that motivated her to want her own FrogFest gig.
Corn joins headliner Chris Janson and local favorites Eddie Arcuri, Lonesome Dove and Tompkins Drive when FrogFest returns to the Utica-Rome Speedway, 5591 Route 5, Vernon. The daylong event promises “bands, bulls and beer,” which includes a rough-and-ruckus rodeo show and plenty of food and beverages.
“It’s really a dream come true that I’m able to do what I love!” Corn said. “I really feed off of the crowd’s energy, and just like them, I want to just have a good time. And if I can show them that, then I’m happy. I also look forward to watching the other bands perform. When you are performing at the same festival as artists you have looked up to in the past, it’s really amazing to sit back and take it all in.”
Her singles include “Remember When” and “Say It Again.” FrogFest will also feature the premiere of her latest song, “Beach Town Sunrise,” coming out this week.
The hometown delicacies at FrogFest will also be a big part of the fun for Corn. “I live in Los Angeles now and every time I come home, it’s all about the food,” Corn noted. “Let’s be real: Upstate New York has the best food around! Good fun and good music! FrogFest is a lot of fun; it can get rowdy but hey, it’s a country concert. We always like to get a little crazy!”
The Utica-based Lonesome Dove performed at FrogFest last year. “The crowd was amazing,” recalled guitarist Cal LaClair. “We get the chance to play before a couple thousand people and that’s an incredible feeling, so we really appreciate their enthusiasm. Everybody should get ready for a good time, because we are ready to give it to them.”
Tompkins Drive is there this year for the first time collectively, although half of them have appeared at FrogFest with other acts in the past. Drummer Tommy Russell said the festival gives the performers the too-often-missed chance to mingle with their peers in the local music business.
“Being able to hang out with fellow musicians has always been a highlight for us at events like this,” he said. “On any given weekend, we are normally miles apart with our respective bands doing our shows. This event brings several groups together and allows us to have that camaraderie which is highly valued by Tompkins Drive. We urge you to show your support for all of the local musicians who will be performing. It will be a day full of great music and great bands.”
Big Frog 104’s digital managing editor Stacey McAdams said Corn was a natural choice for the show because of her local roots, while Arcuri is a former winner of their local talent contest. The radio station also held a recent competition for listeners to choose local acts they wanted to see at FrogFest, with Lonesome Dove and Tompkins Drive coming out on top.
Even after nearly 30 FrogFests, the event continues to be vibrant and exciting for concertgoers, performers and the organizers. McAdams said that’s all because of the music.
“Each year we try to choose an artist who has been big or will be big,” she explained. “Many years ago we had Rascal Flatts. We booked Justin Moore just before ‘Point at You’ came out and it hit No. 1. We had Montgomery Gentry last year, who have had several No. 1 hits, and this year we got Chris Janson who just released ‘Fix A Drink,’ which is already being called the song of the summer.”
This year the organizers have also moved the audience to the grass area to allow them a more enjoyable experience, McAdams added, and relocated the bull riding to the track so everyone can see better from the speedway stands. She encouraged concertgoers to bring lawn chairs and to get there early for a good spot.
That encouragement of promptness was echoed by LaClair. “A little tailgating beforehand never hurts anybody,” he said. “It’s just going to be one big party, so show up early, stay late, and make a full day of it.”
General admission tickets for FrogFest 29 are $20 in advance and $25 at the gate, with free admission for kids age 10 and younger. VIP tickets are $65 for all ages. Onsite parking is free. Gates open at 10:30 a.m., with the rodeo starting at 11 a.m. and music at 2 p.m. For more information, visit bigfrog104.com/frogfest.