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July 29, 2012

Church determined to give fans a great show in August

BLUEFIELD — Country music artist Eric Church believes in second chances, which is why he is coming back on Sunday, Aug. 26 to Bluefield.

Church, along with Jake Owens, were part of the June 29 Second Chance Rocks the Two Virginias concert that was canceled due to a strong storm that swept through the area.

At least 18,000 people had to be evacuated from Mitchell Stadium.

Church was bummed that night. He said going on stage to perform is a release after a long day of waiting — but he understood the need to cancel the show for safety.

“It is a reality for us every time we play in the summertime in an outdoor concert,” he said in a phone interview with the Bluefield Daily Telegraph. “It is unfortunate for us that it happened. It was out of my hands and something I had no control over. But we are making it a priority to come back.”

Church said as soon as concert organizers informed him of the cancellation, he immediately said he would come back and give fans their concert.

“I was disappointed for the fans. There were a lot of people that had bought tickets and came. I understood the inconvenience,” Church said.

Two weeks before the June 29 concert, Church said he had to evacuate a concert in Buffalo, N.Y., due to a storm. He rescheduled that show as well. Ever since the concert tragedy in Indiana in 2011, he said all event organizers have brought a sense of reality to outdoor concerts in the summer. He applauds Second Chance Rocks The Two Virginias for the way they handled the situation in Bluefield.

“I am thankful that everybody was OK and I was glad nothing happened at the show,” he added. “The bigger picture is that we are going to come back.”

And Church is excited to give fans a second chance.

A rising artist in the country music industry, the 35-year-old North Carolina native said he has been offered several second chances during his career.

“Being an artist that took the long way around, it was a different plan and path. We didn’t have a lot of success with radio and TV. We had to own it and work for it. We beat ourselves up in clubs and bars,” he said. “I have had a million second chances and anything we do in life, we don’t get, unless we have had a second, third or fourth chance.”

What can fans expect at the concert?

Church said to be ready for a good time. The song “Springsteen” — his second No. 1 and a RIAA Platinum® single — is a crowd favorite, especially since it deals with summer and an outdoor concert.

“It makes me reminiscence about my first outdoor concert. Being in the outdoors and in the summertime, it has the ability to transport me. If it transports me, it is transporting them as well,” he said.

He hopes his music challenges listeners and stirs up passion. He calls his style of country music “an acquired taste.” He said he believes music lovers in this area enjoy the difference in his songs compared to other mainstream music. With his third album “Chief,” fans are becoming more familiar with Church. He has already sold more than 1 million copies since June 2011. He expects to play songs from previous albums at the concert as well.

“We are ready to party and I appreciate the fans and I appreciated them coming the first time and now showing patience. We are going to make this thing what it should have been,” he added.

Erik Robinson, executive director of the Second Chance Learning Center, said both Church and Owens, were determined to give fans their show.

“I can’t say enough positive things about them,” he said. “They know what type of organization we are and they know it was hard on us to cancel. They have bent over backwards to help.”

Robinson said concertgoers must have their original ticket stub to attend the Aug. 26 show. Tickets can also be purchased at Second Chance Learning Center in Bluefield, Va., or through Ticketmaster. Gates will open at 5 p.m. Andy Crawford will open at 6:15 p.m., followed by Jake Owens at 7 p.m. Church will take the stage at 8:30 p.m.