The word has spread throughout the country music community that every summer the place to be is Haggin Oaks Golf Course at the annual Golf and Guitars. 2012 was no different than years prior. Country stars took a small stage to perform Opry style. Unplugged and informal. This was after a long day of golf and fund raising for a slew of charities.
Jack Ingram served as emcee and introduced recognizable names for hours on end. Among the performers were Jana Kramer, Chuck Wicks, James Wesley, Uncle Kracker, Brett Elderedge, Love ‘N Theft, Jimmy Wayne and head liner Kix Brooks. Although the performances on the stage are entertaining it’s the activities off stage that are the most interesting. Fans are able to mingle with their country favorites without any pretentious tour managers or radio employees hustling the artist off to another engagement. It’s like a reunion of old friends.
The audience has grown over the years, it was no different for the 2012 installment as tickets sold out quickly, but the core attendees that have been there since 2008 are extremely loyal. Whether they’re golfing or just hanging out for the show they enjoy themselves immensely.
As Ingram did his best to stay on somewhat of a schedule on stage, artists were busy at work snapping photos and signing autographs as they made their way into the general admission area. Wicks is, and always has been, the best at this. He wandered around the audience shaking hands like a politician. He must have posed for a hundred photos by the end of the night, but he never tired of smiling for the cameras.
Newcomer Jana Kramer fit right into the madness backstage and in the spotlight – Scurrying on and off the stage, whether it was her scheduled performance time or not, became a usual routine. She lent her vocal skills to a few of her peers. She spent most of the night joking around with her team of golfers, passionately arguing with Wicks at just how many swings over par she had been.
Legendary Kix Brooks appeared just before his set and capped the night with a solid performance that had the crowd on their feet. This event never fails to meet expectations. In fact it’s gotten stronger over the years. The trip to Sacramento is worth it if you’re a fan of good music. It’s a memorable night out and a summer tradition that aims to make the fans happy and raise a few dollars for some great causes.