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ISSUE 116 VOL 2 PUBLISHED 9/20/2002

Celebrating the USA

By Anonymous
Contributing Writer

Friday, September 20, 2002

On Sept. 14, anxious fans piled through the front gates with their lawn chairs and rushed to claim their space in front of the enormous stage. Over 30,000 country fans made their way to Canterbury Park to be a part of Denny Heckers FanJam 2002 put on by country music station K102. FanJam featured artists such as Little Big Town, James Otto, Cyndi Thomson, Carolyn Dawn Johnson, Keith Urban, Trick Poney, Brad Paisley, and Clint Black. Little Big Town, one of the newest bands in country music, kicked off the festivities around 10:30 a.m. While many fans were nervous about the storm clouds that surrounded the area, the weather held up at Canterbury Park, bringing full sunshine by 1 p.m., making it a gorgeous day for the event. FanJam gave the audience a chance to not only show their country style with boots and cowboy hats, but it gave them a chance to display their American pride by wearing patriotic red, white, and blue hats, bandanas, shirts, and jackets. The merchandise tents sold patriotic shirts with statements such as "this is my country" which were popular because of their double meaning. In remembrance of Sept. 11, through a donation from Denny Hecker each fan was given a red, white, and blue Tribute and Triumph ribbon. As the bands played their greatest hits and newest singles, fans supported the Minnesota tradition of eating corn on the cob, cheese curds, and mini donuts. Hungry fans paid five dollars for a basket of cheese curds and $2.50 for a small pop; a hefty price for a small snack. Since the concert was about the fans, appreciative fans were able to wait in line to take close-up pictures of their favorite artist. The picture lines were longest for Carolyn Dawn Johnson and Brad Paisley. For those who watched from their blankets, or chairs, K102 provided a large screen for the audience to catch a closer look. Cyndi Thompson, the first female performer of the afternoon performed songs that introduced the crowd to her emotional honesty. Thomsons songs are not about typical love stories or break-ups. She strives to write about what we are missing and what we have left unsaid. Her song, "What I Really Meant to Say," was a great example of her style. The crowd was pleased with her young and fresh personality. Following Thomson was the optimistic attitude of Caroyln Dawn Johnson. Johnson, who captured the "Single of the Year" award by the Canadian Country Music Awards (CCMA), and "Best Video" by Country Music Television (CMT), was pleased to be in Minn. on such a beautiful afternoon. Capitol recording artist Keith Urban enticed the audience with his undying energy and emotionally charged songs. Urban also promoted his new album to be released on Oct. 8 titled "Someone like you." Urban later joined artist Brad Paisley on stage for an energetic guitar duo. Trick Poney, ran on stage wearing the a-typical country outfit. Main vocalist Heidi wore jeans that looked like a tiger had attacked her, while her back up vocalist Keith Burns sported a Minnesota Wild hockey jersey. The band was well received by the crowd, especially after their performance of their hit song "Just what I do." During their performance Burns, a St. Paul native, invited his mother on stage to present her with a copy of their self-titled debut album that received a gold certificate. As the beautiful afternoon rolled on, and as the sun set, fans were anticipating the bright lights and Clint Blacks performance. The temperature dropped, the stars and blankets came out, and everyone kept warm as the last show began. Most dire fans stayed until the last note had been played, and the twelve-hour country festival was officially over.

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