Country Was Alive and Kicking at Irvine’s GoFest
Couples wrapped in each other’s plaid-patterned arms, fathers escorting herds of young daughters through rows of tailgaters, the screams and shouts of popular country lyrics, heard clearly from nearby cornhole matches and truck beds — GoFest has arrived. GoFest has become somewhat of an Irvine tradition, with Irvine hosting the concert for almost 15 years. This year GoFest took place at FivePoint Amphitheatre and hosted the likes of Jimmie Allen, Chris Janson and Chris Young.
Although there was no shortage of tailgating at GoFest, FivePoint opened its doors early to facilitate its own party. GoCountry entertained early concertgoers with drinking games, unique and innovative food trucks, and of course line dancing. Despite the fun of the pre-show pregame, country fans were itching to see their favorite acts.
One excited Chris Young fan, Billy Crow, seemed ready to fast forward to the last set of the night, just as soon as FivePoint’s doors opened.
“Chris Young is the most underrated country artist out there, he’s my favorite,” Crow gushed. “He’s raw and he’s got such strong lyrics.”
Before it was Chris Young’s turn to wow GoFest, Jimmie Allen took the stage to start the show.
Jimmie Allen is a relatively new face in country music, but that did not stop him from commanding Irvine’s massive amphitheater audience. FivePoint Amphitheatre was almost completely filled by the time Allen took the stage and his performances of songs like “Shallow” and “Make Me Want To” left fans more than satisfied. Allen hit the stage in style, wearing all-white complimented with an elegant gold bomber jacket.
Next to take the stage, fresh off of an impressive Jimmy Kimmel Live! performance, was Chris Janson.
“Are you ready to get redneck and loud, California?” Janson asked the crowd.
They were. Janson put on an extremely engaging performance, often taking time to speak to his screaming fans. “I know I’m a little strange, but we’re gonna have some fun!” he exclaimed.
Janson’s music is rowdy and upbeat and his set included the most dancing of the night. “Don’t even think about takin’ out that white trash,” Janson crooned on fan favorite, “White Trash.”
He not only satisfied concertgoers with hits like “Drunk Girl” and “Buy Me a Boat,” but also debuted new music. “Y’all want some new music that’ll knock your socks off?” he implored of the crowd. “This is some California love!” Janson’s set ended in deafening praise, as the eccentric country heartthrob thanked Irvine and returned backstage.
Then it was time for the feature act, Grammy-nominated Chris Young, who found his big break after being declared the winner of Nashville Star, a singing competition on USA network, in 2006. Chris Young started his set by expressing gratitude to his fans for relentlessly supporting his career over the years. “Thank y’all for supporting me for over a decade!” Young proclaimed, before launching into his set.
His brand of real and relatable country tunes captivated GoFest, with fans following every word, swaying to the music, often with lighters and phones held high towards the stage. After performing classic Chris Young love songs like “Losing Sleep” and “Tomorrow,” Young melted the crowd with his final and most popular offering, “I’m Comin’ Over.”
As the show came to an end, country fans began to disperse, but they won’t have to wait until next year’s GoFest to return to Irvine’s FivePoint Amphitheatre. FivePoint has a few more country heavy hitters visiting in the coming weeks, including Lynyrd Skynyrd, Dierks Bentley, Florida Georgia Line, and more!