Each summer in July, there is a country music festival at the Deseret Peak Complex, complete with enough campers to almost populate Stansbury Park, several big-name country performers, food, beverages of all kinds, and lots of dancing.
The event this year began on Wednesday, July 26 when campers in trailers, campers, tents, and yurts, which are portable circular structures for “glamping” set up by fan fest workers for rent, arrived at the Deseret Peak Complex to set up camp.
Over 2,000 campsites were sold and over 8,000 people camped at the festival.
“We kind of built a little city,” Bracken Hudson, co-owner of the festival said.
Wednesday continued with a Cadillac Ranch fan meet up, and Kyler Fisher, Track45, Sawyer Brown, and The Wayne Hoskins Band performing on the RV stage.
During the Track45 concert around 8:15 p.m., the performance was stopped because of high winds.
On Thursday, July 27, activities included yoga, a corn hole tournament, line dancing, swing dance lessons, and a veteran’s salute. Throughout the day, Spencer Crandall, Madeline Edwards, Priscilla Block, Scotty McCreery, and Parker McCollum performed on the main stage. At midnight, a DJ performed on the RV Stage and a neon party was held.
On Friday, July 28, activities included yoga, buck pong, a trike race, line dancing, and a veteran’s salute. For VIP guests, a performance by Shane Profit was held at 12:30 p.m. Performers on the main stage Friday included George Birge, Shane Profitt, Randall King, Ashley McBryde, and Cody Johnson.
Also on Friday, Will Cullen and Brian Kelley performed on the Tiki Tonk stage, and a DJ performed there. At midnight, Carver Louis performed on the RV stage.
On Saturday, July 29, the last day of the festival, activities included yoga, line dancing, a shirtless cowboy and cowgirl bikini contest, a dance competition, and line dance instruction.
At 12:30 p.m., Kylie Morgan performed for VIP guests. She performed again on the main stage at 3 p.m., along with John Morgan, Ernest, Ian Munsick, and Hardy.
The Ian Munsick performance was temporarily postponed because of high winds, but he was able to return and finish his set.
Carver Louis, Jagertown, John Morgan, and a DJ performed on the Tiki Tonk stage. At Midnight, Jagertown performed again on the RV stage.
Altogether, over 48,000 people attended the concert and Friday was the day with the biggest attendance.
“This was our biggest year ever,” Hudson said. “We had close to 6,000 or 7,000 more people this year. We had a great line up. I think people that come and have a great experience want to bring more friends and family with them next year.”
Around 75% of the people who attended were from Utah. The remaining 25% were from out of state, including Idaho, Wyoming, and Nevada.
“We are very focused on the customer experience,” Hudson said. “We want to make sure that people want to come back.”
This year, the event went pretty smoothly and Hudson enjoyed watching people having a good time.
“My favorite part of the event is seeing families and friends come together to make memories and enjoy a week of not just country music, but the festival experience,” he said.
One challenge this year was the Deseret Peak pool being closed.
“We had a ginormous amount of personal pool fill requests this year,” Hudson explained. “One of our biggest obstacles was trying to meet that demand because the pool wasn’t open. We have a local partnership with some guys who have water trucks. They filled the trucks with water, then they visited the campsites, and filled the pools.”
Hudson is excited for the pool to be fixed and opened next year.
Country Fan Fest organizers partnered with many local businesses this year including hotels, restaurants, grocery stores, garbage pickup, and water tanking businesses.
“We partner with a lot of local businesses,” Hudson said. “A huge focus of ours is to support the local economy. We hire and partner with local businesses wherever and whenever possible.”
Next year, the festival will be held July 24-27. So far, Riley Green, Bailey Zimmerman, and Jon Pardi will perform. Other artists haven’t been announced yet.
To keep up with artist announcements, please visit countryfanfest.com or follow them on Facebook or Instagram.
Festival organizers are expecting even more people next year and there’s room to grow.
“We have been working with the county management on how and where to expand the festival, so we can keep it in Tooele County and continue to grow,” Hudson said.
This was Cheyann Hickman’s first year at Country Fan Fest. Hickman is a Grantsville resident.
She attended the festival with her in-laws.
“I absolutely loved Scotty McCreery,” she said. “He was amazing. He was my mama’s favorite. We watched him when he was on American Idol and we’ve been fans ever since. It was an amazing experience to be able to watch him live. I felt her with me the entire time.”
Hickman also enjoyed watching Ian Munsick and Hardy on Saturday evening.
“The atmosphere of everyone coming together for country music was just so cool to see,” she said.
Dan Gans, also from Grantsville, visited the festival with his wife Ashley to see Scott McCreery on Thursday evening.
They’ve been to the festival before, but they were excited to attend again.
“I got free tickets, because I volunteer at the fire department,” Gans said. “They gave me the tickets for working a shift here.”
Gans and his wife enjoyed the concert as well as the people watching.
Audrey Ubribe from Herriman, Utah has attended the festival every year since it began.
“I enjoy the people watching,” she said. “It’s a great time. The outfits are incredible too.”
Ubribe enjoyed the Parker McCollum concert on Thursday evening.
Jennifer Hale came to the festival from Boise, Idaho. It was her first year at the festival.
“I really enjoy county music and some of the artists playing,” she said. “I thought it would be a good experience.”
Hale had a great time at the festival and will be back next year.
“I enjoyed the artists. They really put on a good show,” Hale continued. “I’ve also enjoyed the community, and all the people that have come, and the people I’ve met.”
Country Fan Fest was created in 2015 by Hudson and his father, Hal, who are both Utah residents.
“We started it out of our love for country music and our passion for seeing people come together and make memories,” Hudson said.
Hudson and his father found the Deseret Peak Complex when they were looking around for a venue to house the festival and they knew it would be the perfect location. Hudson works with booking agencies based out of Nashville, Tennessee to hire artists to perform at the festival. Tooele County residents, along with Hudson’s family help him run the festival.
“This is a very family-oriented business for us,” Hudson said. “There are close to 50 family members who come together to help and do different aspects of the festival.”
The first year, around 20,000 people attended.
Throughout the years, big named stars like Luke Combs, Thomas Rhett, Dan and Shay, Old Dominion, and Brooks and Dunn have performed.
Hudson wants to thank those who attended, and local businesses.
“We appreciate all of the support from Tooele County businesses, and our attendees who come from Tooele,” Hudson said. “We appreciate the local community support and we are excited to keep the festival growing in Tooele County. We look forward to many years to come.”