For the first time, WIOV-FM’s Fallfest concert will be held outside of Lancaster County.
The 28th annual country music show will be at Maple Grove Raceway in Mohnton, Berks County, on Sunday, Oct. 13. Chris Janson will headline.
Previously, the concert was held at Overlook Community Campus in Manheim Township and, prior to that, at Long’s Park. The show is hosted by Ephrata-based country radio station WIOV and sponsored by Rutter’s.
The concert won’t be on the drag strip itself, though. Rather, the event will be situated just east of the grandstands in a large field near parking lots on the Maple Grove Raceway property, said Rich Creeger, program director for WIOV.
“It’s a flatter surface, it’s a bigger area, the parking's right there on-site,” Creeger said. “It was more convenient I think for the listener experience altogether, as opposed to before, (when) we had shuttles running from different locations.”
Maple Grove Raceway is just east of the northeast Lancaster County border in Berks County, not far from WIOV’s home base in Ephrata. The station serves Lancaster, Berks and York counties.
“I know there’s people that look at that imaginary line and go, ‘Oh my God, it’s north of Lancaster County,’ ” Creeger said. “But really, we’re all one big family, aren’t we, Berks and Lancaster County? I’m not focused on the line.”
Creeger expects capacity to be similar to that of the previous festival grounds at Overlook Park. Sarah Gingrich, director of communications for Maple Grove Raceway, said the facility can accommodate “tens of thousands.”
A first for Maple Grove
Fallfest will be the first concert at the raceway, to Gingrich’s knowledge.
“It’s something different for us ...” Gingrich said. “It’s something that we've never really done before.”
She said Maple Grove has advertised on WIOV.
“Their listeners are people who do come to our national event, and I will say myself too, I listen to I-105, and a lot of our staff listen to it too,” Gingrich says.
She also noted the raceway’s systems already in place for dealing with high-capacity events, such as partnerships with local police, fire departments and emergency services units.
“It makes it easier for us to help them facilitate large groups of people, which is a big deal,” Gingrich says.
Tickets for Fallfest come in two options: general admission or WIOVIP, formerly known as Winner’s Seating, located directly in front of the stage. General admission is behind WIOVIP seating.
“It’s still an endless run of area for people to sit in and bring their blankets and their chairs,” Creeger said.
This year’s show will feature six acts on one stage. The side stage of years past has been eliminated, Creeger said.
The winner of the WIOV’s annual Battle of the Bands-style competition Showdown in the Park will open the show. Showdown in the Park is Friday, July 12, from 6-9 p.m. at New Holland Community Memorial Park.
Following will be Olivia Farabaugh, last year’s Showdown winner; Brandon Ratcliffe, who is currently touring with Kelsea Ballerini; Filmore, known for its song “Slower;” Dylan Scott, singer of “My Girl”; and lastly, Janson.
Janson’s hits include “Buy Me a Boat,” “Good Vibes” and “Fix a Drink.” He’s also helped pen songs for other prominent country acts like Tim McGraw, Hank Williams, Jr., Tyler Farr and Parmalee. Creeger described Janson’s recent show in Camden, New Jersey, as “the best show” he’s ever seen.
“I’ve been in this business 30 years,” Creeger said. “I’ve seen a lot of shows. And this is not hyperbole for ticket sales. This is the truth. I mean, this guy is so high energy from the time he hits the stage to the time he leaves.”
Creeger said that despite this year’s changes, the quality of Fallfest won’t change.
“It’s still the same family-friendly event that you've come to know,” he said. “Although ticket prices have risen just a little bit, it’s still the best ticket that you can buy for that price to see that caliber of acts.”