More than 3,000 country music fans descended this evening on the University of South Carolina Aikens Convocation Center to enjoy the 11th annual WKXC-FM Guitar Pull benefiting area charities.
As in past years, the fans were treated to acoustical performances by some of countrys best known entertainers, including Craig Morgan, Joe Nichols, Trace Adkins, Josh Turner and Big Kenny of the duo Big & Rich.
To get fans waiting for the doors to open in the mood, a free outside concert began about 6 p.m. featuring hit recording artist Steve Azar and a band called Jypsi.
Meanwhile backstage and on the nearby custom buses the artists were talking about their day. Mr. Nichols was talking about how much fun he had playing golf at the Augusta Country Club, while Mr. Morgan was talking about how he was in a tree stand hunting early this morning in Ohio.
Soon it was show time with the artists called out to take their places in chairs lined up across the stage.
For crowd favorite Mr. Adkins, it was his fourth Guitar Pull. For newcomer band Gloriana, it was their first ever. The choice of songs ranged from Mr. Nichols' his new one, Gimme That Girl, to Josh Turner's classic-gospel hit Long, Black Train.
Mr. Turner led off the evening with both boos and cheers when he told the full-house audience, Im a Clemson Tiger fan. My wife is a Georgia Bulldog fan, and nobody cares about the Gamecocks.
He then launched his big hit single, My Man.
The Guitar Pull has moved several times since its original site of Sacred Heart Cultural Center in order to accommodate larger audiences.
Past Guitar Pulls were also held in the Imperial Theatre and Bell Auditorium before moving across the Savannah River to USC Aiken.
Organizers have resisted a move to the even larger James Brown Arena over concern it may lack intimacy.