Left to Right: Rahim Keval, AVP Business Development Officer, Partnership Bank; Tom Stanton, Executive Director, Mel’s Charities; Mikko Hilvo, Cedarburg Parks and Forestry Superintendent; Alex Uhan, Organizer/Promoter, Country in the Burg; Randy Groth, Partner, Country in the Burg; Michael O’Keefe, Cedarburg Mayor; David Braaten, CEO, Partnership Bank.
By Mary Boyle
Growing up in Thiensville, Alex Uhan's parents exposed him to all kinds of music, but the stuff that really stuck was the Country. His passion for the genre has brought him into close contact with some big name artists over the years, taking him on tour buses, and even on the stage. Fast forward to 2014, when this Homestead High School graduate who had relocated to Cedarburg came up with an idea for a Country Music concert to be performed locally, and in a smaller, more intimate venue than the artist would normally play. The Summer Sounds concert series at Cedar Creek Park introduced him to just the right location and, in 2017, Uhan ran the idea past the Cedarburg Common Council, who were in full support. Country in the Burg was born.
"I wanted to organize a concert that would do two things: bring in a Country artist who wouldn't normally come to our little town and benefit a charity," Uhan explained.
Three charities, actually. The first was a no-brainer: Mel's Charities has been raising money for Ozaukee causes for the past 20 years, donating over one million dollars locally through their "great times for great causes." The second charity was Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, who have been providing healthcare solely for children for 125 years. Finally, Uhan also chose the Wounded Warrior Project, in honor of family members and friends who have served in the military. The WWP serves veterans and service members who incurred a physical or mental injury, illness, or wounds while serving in the military on or after September 11, 2001.
Uhan knew he had the City behind him, and he already had artists on board, but he wanted to gauge the interest of the community. This past March, he created a Facebook Event for the concert and, in just 2 months, over 2,000 people were interested. Now, nearly a year later, the event is closing in on 9,000 - double the number of people than there are tickets to the event, which will take place on August 24th at Cedar Creek Park.
"There are a limited amount of General Admission tickets left, and I expect to sell out long before the concert — Kip Moore (the headliner) is huge," Uhan chuckled. Huge, indeed; Moore incurred a fine for playing past curfew at Summerfest this past season because the adoring audience demanded more.
Opening for Moore are Cedarburg native, Josh Thompson, who has written songs for the likes of Blake Shelton, Jason Aldean, Brad Paisley, and Darius Rucker, as well as having a successful Country Music career of his own, and David Nail, whose latest album, Only This And Nothing More, was included in the Rolling Stone Magazine list of "12 New Albums to Stream Now." Originally, the band Love and Theft were scheduled to play, but then a scheduling conflict took them out of the line-up; however, Uhan is thrilled to have a Cedarburg hometown boy in their place.
Unlike the Summer Sounds concert, Cedar Creek Park will be completely fenced in for Country in the Burg. Those with VIP tickets, at a cost of $89, will be center stage, with access to their own beer vendor and bathrooms. General Admission tickets, which are $59, allows you to bring in a chair, but it's expected that most people will be standing for the entire event. While there will be lots reserved for parking, Uhan doesn't expect it to be a problem, stating: "Strawberry Festival brings far more people into town than this concert will, and there is no special parking lot for that."
Uhan hopes that the event will create an atmosphere similar to "Country Thunder" — a music festival that takes place in Twin Lakes, WI — although much smaller. More importantly, he hopes attendees will feel good that their ticket purchase will not only allow them to see three great artists in a great venue with a great view, it will also help three great charities.
Country in the Burg will take place on Saturday, August 24, 2019, from 5-11 p.m. at Cedar Creek Park in Cedarburg, WI. A limited number of General Admission tickets are available, and may be purchased at: tickets.midwestix.com/event/country-in-the-burg-2019/.