Big name, three-day country music festival targeted for Kennett area next year featuring Tim McGraw, Faith Hill and others

East Marlborough >> Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Toby Keith and Brad Paisley and other big names in country music could be playing in the Kennett area next year. The three-day event is expected to draw up to 15,000 people per day.

A request to hold a three-day big-name country music festival in Willowdale was met with cautious questions Monday night.

Representatives of Impact Entertainment came to the East Marlborough Township supervisors’ monthly meeting hoping to get a favorable verdict on their temporary outdoor event request that would permit them to hold a three-day festival next year August 24 to August 26, from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and from noon to 9 p.m. Sunday. Organizers plan to pump more than $2 million for the acts.

Susan Hamley, executive director of the Chester County Conference and Visitors Bureau, said the bureau had been looking for new events that would draw new visitors into the area. She said she was impressed by Impact Marketing and the Country Summer music festival it has organized yearly since 2014 in Sonoma County, California.


Hamley said the organizers were considering several sites in Chester County but she felt Willowdale was especially representative of the area’s rural beauty, and would inspire more tourism, benefiting everyone in the region.

Dixon Stroud, the founder of the Willowdale Steeplechase, said it costs a lot of money to maintain areas like the steeplechase site as open space, and hosting the music event would help offset those expenses.

Alan Jacoby, Impact Entertainment’s executive producer, said the show would feature some of the best-known country music stars such as Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Toby Keith, and Braid Paisley. “It’s going to be a very high-quality show,” Jacoby said.

But the supervisors had a lot of questions about the show’s potential impact on area residents. Coming as it did the day after the massacre in Las Vegas, they had many questions to begin with about security at the event.

Organizers said metal detectors and bag and vehicle searches were part of the procedures to prevent contraband such as weapons and alcohol from being brought onto the event grounds.

The supervisors focused more, however, on potential noise and traffic problems. The organizers said the area’s natural amphitheater and buffering trees would help protect neighbors from the sound of the concerts, which on some nights would run until 11 p.m.

The organizers also said a noise consultant had assured them their procedures would enable them to stay within the township’s requirements for noise levels.

But the supervisors noted that some of the support materials the concert organizers provided didn’t make clear whether or not their procedures did, in fact, strictly conform to the township’s ordinance. The organizers also acknowledged that sound could carry greater distances under particular weather conditions, which could not be predicted or countered.

Richard P. S. Hannum, chairman of the supervisors, said he was not sure the event was right for the location.

“I’m sure you guys run a great event,” Hannum said. But he said he had concerns about noise, security, traffic, parking, the flow of people in and out, and the extra efforts the event would require from local law enforcement personnel.

“I think the event has possibilities,” he said. “I just want to make sure we’re doing our due diligence and understanding the effects.”

On being told the organizers needed to know one way or the other if they could use the Willowdale site sooner than the supervisors’ November meeting, Hannum said the supervisors could meet with the organizers in a week and give them a decision.

Townhouse plan

In other business, the supervisors unanimously approved a preliminary land-development plan for Longwood Preserve (CJK), a 150-unit townhouse project on a 32-acre tract on Schoolhouse Road. The approval was contingent on the developer’s making a good-faith effort to create a short stretch of road that might, in the future, connect with a future development to provide a way for residents in that area to get to Walnut Road.