[Editor's note: The 3 Rivers Music Festival has been postponed. Read more here: http://bit.ly/157RYpD.]
Lee Greenwood loves performing for large crowds.
When the singer headlines the country lineup at this weekend’s 3 Rivers Music Festival, he hopes to do just that.
“We expect to see an awful lot of people,” Greenwood said recently in a telephone interview from his Tennessee home. “I was very popular in North and South Carolina in the early ’80s – Charlotte is where we sold more records than anywhere else.”
Greenwood is most widely known for his chart-topping patriotic anthem “God Bless the U.S.A.,” and just returned from a nine-day, nine-city Independence Day tour that featured the song on every stop. His widely known American pride may be a draw for some concertgoers, said 3 Rivers executive director Sandra Sims.
“Lee Greenwood is a patriot and anyone who considers themselves a good patriot will enjoy Lee,” Sims said.
For the past six weeks, Greenwood has been recording at concerts for an upcoming live album, which may include part of his Saturday performance in the Vista.
The Greenwood-helmed show is the second part of the two-weekend festival, a former Columbia staple that once attracted the likes of Outkast and Aretha Franklin, but folded in 2006 after low attendance left Columbia with a $200,000 deficit. Organizers project attendance will be at least 6,500 to 7,000 this weekend. Last weekend’s Gospel Extravaganza drew around 3,000 despite four bouts of rain, Sims said.
Greenwood, among other performers, has made concertgoers excited for the festival, Sims said.
“The phone’s been ringing off the hook every day, and it’s still ringing,” she said. “It’s going to be a great success and the weather may even half agree with us.”
Greenwood has 150 live shows across the country each year, but he said he particularly likes playing in states like South Carolina, where country fans “love to sit on the back of a truck and listen to some good music.”
“Country fans are pretty much the same all over, but they get more adamant as you get further away from Nashville,” Greenwood said. “South Carolina is as far away from Nashville as Texas, so fans are really into it there.”