The installation hosted country artists Big & Rich along with special guest Lathan Warlick to kick off Marne Week, May 15.
Over 1,700 people attended the outdoor concert. With many venues across the globe still debating when and how they will begin hosting physical events again, this concert was an early sign of what is to come.
“People are still being cautious about coming out and enjoying big events but I think we are headed in the right direction,” said Jennifer Peterson, Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation deputy director. “We look forward to doing more community events that get our folks out and about enjoying each other along with the sunshine and fresh air.”
While a departure from the previous year’s strict COVID-19 guidelines, the concert was still reminiscent with socially distanced seating and mask requirements while in common areas. Installation leadership shared with the audience that decisions to relax restrictions were in large part due to the community’s willingness to vaccinate.
“It was awesome seeing the Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield community outside, enjoying themselves,” said Col. Bryan Logan, Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield garrison commander. “We were able to host this concert because our community has been extremely diligent in getting vaccinated and maintaining our COVID-19 mitigation efforts. It’s been a rough year. I’m glad we haven’t forgotten how to have a little fun.”
The FMWR events coordinator, Cara Bates, explained that while scheduled in advance, planning the event was abnormally complex as CDC and installation guidelines for COVID-19 have been ever evolving.
“We have to be willing and flexible to make changes every day. So we have a plan, a backup plan and a backup plan to the backup plan,” Bates said. “Typically, when I plan an event this size, the main focus is customer experience. When you add in the pandemic, you have to be a little more strategic in all of your planning.”
Before the concert started, John Rich with Big & Rich met with fans to share his time and sign autographs.