FORT SILL, Oklahoma (May 17, 2021) -- After last year’s Trace Adkins concert was canceled because of the pandemic, the county music star vowed he would return to Fort Sill. Adkins made good on his promise as he performed an Armed Forces Day concert May 15, at Polo Field.
About 8,000 people attended the concert which was free and open to the public, said Shane Dunlevy, Fort Sill Family and Morale, Welfare, and Recreation Business and Community Recreation director. Fort Sill was the first stop on Adkins’ “The Way I Wanna Go” tour.
As a prelude to the show, videos of the five armed forces showcasing their missions were shown on giant screens surrounding the stage. Images of Fort Sill Soldiers explaining “Why I Serve” flashed across screens, too.
The Garrison Command team of Col. Rhett Taylor, and Command Sgt. Maj. Russell Blackwell welcomed the crowd at 6:20 p.m. After a safety briefing by Blackwell, Taylor told everyone to have fun.
Staff Sgt. Kandra Garnett, 77th Army Band, belted out the “The Star-Spangled Banner” acapella to get the music under way. Then the 77th Army Band’s Rock Band played several popular songs.
Basic combat trainees from the 434th Field Artillery Brigade, as well as advanced individual training Soldiers, had front row seating as, first, they watched The Powell Brothers perform their original country and rock selections.
Pandemic protocols were in place with painted 8-foot circles to accommodate groups of up to four family members and friends to maintain physically distancing, according to the MWR homepage. Sanitation stations were placed throughout the venue to encourage handwashing.
Adkins has always been a big supporter of the military, and he has performed at Fort Sill before. “We always enjoy playing for service members and their families, and veterans and their families,” said Adkins in an interview before the concert. “It’s something we’ve been doing for years, and right now we’re just happy to be playing anywhere.”
The audience ranged from children to young adults and adults to seniors, said Michele Flanagan, MWR Marketing director. “Everyone seemed to really enjoy the concert,” Flanagan said. “It really did seem like a lot of people sang along to the words to his (Adkins) songs.”
In one of his selections Adkins threw in “Fort Sill” as part of the lyrics, which drew cheers from the crowd.
Dunlevy said he received a lot of positive comments thanking Fort Sill for putting on the show.
About 85 volunteers from MWR helped run the event, Flanagan said. They drove shuttles, inspected bags, and served soft drinks. About 60 Soldiers from all the brigades, and Marines from the detachment, volunteered with the set up, tear down, and clean up, Dunlevy said.
“We couldn’t have put on the concert without the support of all the brigades, the Marines, the MWR volunteers, and the sponsors helping,” Dunlevy said.
Concert sponsors included: Billingsley Family of Dealerships, Hilliary Communications, Coors, Pepsi, The Lawton Constitution, KSWO-TV, Fort Sill Federal Credit Union, Corvias Military Living, RE/MAX Pam & Barry’s Team, Raytheon Missiles & Defense, Ez-Go, Raising Cane’s, and TownSquare Media. Sponsorship does not imply DoD endorsement.