Luke Bryan in Pesotum: 'We'll turn this cornfield into a party'

Luke Bryan in Pesotum: 'We'll turn this cornfield into a party'

PESOTUM — When country superstar Luke Bryan announced Friday he'll be performing in Pesotum this fall as part of his annual Farm Tour, residents were pretty excited.

"Who would've thought that we'd have a big-time act like that ever come to the cornfields of Pesotum?" said Katie Wilson, a village trustee for the town of about 530 people.

Bryan will be performing pretty much in Doug Reinhart's backyard, playing in farmland northwest of town owned by The Atkins Group.

"My sister texted me about 11 o'clock and said, 'Luke Bryan's playing in Pesotum at 930 County Road 300 North,' and I said, 'There ain't nothing but a field right there.'"

While he likes country music, Reinhart's not a huge fan of Bryan.

"It'd be nice if it was a country concert," Reinhart joked.

Like most of the town, Reinhart didn't hear about the concert until it was announced.

"The first I heard about it was today. Thought they'd let me know a little sooner," Reinhart said. "I guess I'll try to make some money off it."

There were some hints, though.

Neighbors noticed a large patch of grass in the middle of the corn and soybean field behind Reinhart's house.

"They got 20 acres of grass down there, and I couldn't figure out why you'd put grass in the middle of a field," Reinhart said.

It was also one of the first fields planted this spring.

"This is the first field he planted," Reinhart said, which could mean the field will be harvested in time for the Sept. 28 concert. "It's gonna be close."

Pesotum residents living nearby are wondering where everyone's going to park.

"My boy plays football for Unity, and Unity plays Monticello that night, so how's he going to get home at 9:30, 10 o'clock that night?" Reinhart said. "And then, do I need to stay here at my house, while there are all these strangers at the concert, or do I go watch him play football? Or do I want to let people camp here starting on Thursday night? I'm sure there's going to be a lot of people out of town."

Parking will begin at 2 p.m., with doors opening at 5 p.m. and the show starting at 6 p.m.

"They're probably expecting to get this corn out. That might end up being where the parking is. I don't know," said Bill Mobley, who lives about a half-mile down the road from the large patch of grass. "It's going to be a crazy day."

Pesotum Fire Protection District Chief Rob Russian — who knew about the concert "some weeks ago" but "was sworn to secrecy" — said he's been working with the Illinois State Police, Champaign County Sheriff's Department and Emergency Management Agency, and The Atkins Group.

Village President Joyce Ragle, who "had a hint that it was a possibility," said she had "been told by the sheriff's department to expect several thousand."

"I know I'm going," she said. "We're just hoping everybody will come and have a good time."

Tickets for the Farm Tour concert, sponsored by Bayer, go on sale June 6 at lukebryan.com.

"He's got a song that says, 'We'll turn this cornfield into a party,' and I guess that's kind of what he's looking for," Mobley said.

While he's a Bryan fan, Mobley isn't planning to buy a ticket.

"I think I'm close enough where I'll just be able to go out here on my ditch bank, pull my lawn chair up, and get my cooler sitting there, and I'll just sit there," he said. "I'm looking forward to it."

At the Route 45 Wayside bar, owner Lora Witheft said the concert should be good for business.

"It should be very good because we're the only business in town," she said. "It's bringing lots of people in who probably don't even know where Pesotum is, so it kind of puts us on the map."

This will likely be the biggest event Pesotum has seen, she said.

"Usually our big event in town is the town-wide garage sales," said Witheft, who will be working during the concert.

"I think everybody from Pesotum is super excited," she said. "Facebook has been blowing up today. There's been a lot of talk in here. There's a lot of people that are excited to go."

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