By Ryan Gueningsman
DHJ Managing Editor
WINSTED, MN Winsotck has “turned it loose” and has announced that recently-crowned Country Music Association Male Vocalist of the Year Blake Shelton and Female Vocalist of the Year nominee Martina McBride are set to headline Winstock 2012.
“We’re just thrilled to be bringing the reigning CMA male vocalist of the year to Winstock,” said Winstock Country Music Festival Chairman Dave Danielson. “We can’t wait for him to bring his show to Winsted.”
Having a reigning award winner perform at Winstock hasn’t happened since Keith Urban performed at Winstock 2004, and went on to be named the CMA’s entertainer of the year and male vocalist of the year in 2005. This is Shelton’s second consecutive win in the male vocalist category. He was also up for four other CMA awards this year, and kicked off the show with a performance of “Footloose” with Kenny Loggins.
Joining Shelton to headline Winstock 2012 will be McBride, who was also the reigning female vocalist of the year when she performed at Winstock in 2003. McBride gave a moving performance of her latest hit “I’m Gonna Love You Through It” at the recent awards ceremony.
Danielson said Winstock and Shelton have been on similar paths as far as how Shelton’s career and Winstock have progressed through the years.
“We first had Blake back in 2002, which was also a time of growth for the festival,” Danielson said, adding that Shelton had a few more hits under his belt when he performed at Winstock again in 2006, and said that, now, Shelton is a bona fide headliner.
“He’s definitely grown along with our festival,” Danielson said. “He’s gone on to become one of country music’s top entertainers, and Winstock has gone on to become one of the top country festivals.”
Danielson said Winstock organizers attempted to pull off a “husband-wife” tag-team event with Shelton and his wife, recently-named CMA Female Vocalist of the Year Miranda Lambert, but said Lambert had other commitments.
Winstock’s Friday night headliner will be no stranger to the Winstock stage, as organizers are proud to welcome back McBride.
“Martina is on a new record label and seems reenergized, and has spent a lot of time in the studio building up to her new album,” Danielson said. “She has some of the best music of her career and we’re excited for her to be bringing that, along with all of her hits, to Winstock 2012. Her new music gives people who may not be tried-and-true Martina fans a new introduction to her.”
Danielson said, in the past, McBride has enjoyed Winstock because it’s family-orientated, and said she often travels with her family.
The rest of the Winstock 2012 lineup is expected to be finalized in the next months and released in early January.
“There are going to be to a ton of tours this summer, and it’s been a challenge trying to lock in entertainers due to there being so many headline tours that also feature opening acts,” Danielson said.
However, that has not stopped Winstock organizers from working to secure some of the hottest acts out of Nashville.
“We’re in the process of putting together a heck of a lineup this year, and are also looking forward to our 20th festival next year,” Danielson said. “We’re already making plans for the 20th in 2013.”
He said the 2012 lineup will likely feature a couple of Winstock fan favorites, as well as a number of new artists to the Winstock roster.
“The pieces are starting to all fall into place,” Danielson said.
Winstock is a fundraising event for Holy Trinity Catholic School in Winsted and is staffed by hundreds of volunteers from the school and the area.
“We appreciate the continued support of our event,” Danielson said, “and, of course, all the volunteers who work to make it happen.”
Anywhere from 10,000 to 15,000 people attend the festival. Campsites surround the festival area and accommodate the large number of music lovers. Since the first year Winstock was started in 1994, the festival has continued to grow in both the number of fans and the quality of the artists.
“It’s just a great community event that brings together a lot of people,” Danielson said.
The 19th annual Winstock Country Music Festival will take place Friday and Saturday, June 8 and 9, 2012.
For more information on additional artists as they are signed and to order tickets, follow the link from the Herald Journal homepage.