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Frankie Ballard comes to center stage

One of the biggest events in the 2016 Homecoming line-up was the Homecoming Concert. This year, APSU invited up-and-coming country artist Frankie Ballard to perform. It was a surprisingly chilly evening before the doors to the Foy Center were opened to the public, and many were caught unaware by the sudden climate change.

The concert has always been a highly anticipated event as the school has brought acts like Three 6 Mafia’s Juicy J.

“I have been coming to the homecoming concerts even before I was enrolled at APSU and it was always a really fun time,” sophomore English major Kasandra Stone said. “Country is my favorite genre so I was excited when Frankie Ballard was announced as this year’s guest.”

Stone was not the only one who was excited for Thursday night’s concert. As soon the doors were opened to the public a group of young women rushed in like an organized stampede towards the security barrier, nearly trampling a photographer who was setting up potential shots.

“Every crowd is different but younger crowds do tend get wild with a lot dancing and whooping and hollering,” Ballard said. “No matter who is in the audience, we want to bring old-fashioned entertainment to everyone one we perform for.

The concert started at 7 p.m. with the opening act of Jason Mizelle, who was tasked with warming up the crowd. The opening set lasted for about 30 minutes to allow time for Ballard’s crew to set up for the main show to start at 8 p.m.

Ballard was then introduced to the crowd by saying he had just come back from a European tour and all the way to APSU for homecoming week.

“The European tour was awesome. It was surprising to see so many country fans over there,” Ballard said. “That is part of the reason we went to Western Europe in the first place, to get more international fans into country music.”

A Google search for Frankie Ballard tour dates shows that he certainly is a well-traveled individual. Even after getting back from international travel, he performed to the APSU concert only to then head to Billings, Montana the next day.

“I like to keep busy so I tend to do about 200 shows a year, and I have done that over the past 12 years,” Ballard said.

Many of the young women who rushed the barricade were singing along with every one of his songs.

A visit to Frankie Ballard’s Facebook page shows he has a close relationship with fans, as he posts crowd shots that are taken mid concert with him amongst the fans. The Homecoming Concert was no different, as he jumped on top of the barricade to get a picture taken.

“When I write songs I think of myself has a storyteller, especially ones that many can relate to,” Ballard said. “I tell not just my own stories but that of my loved ones too. If you keep your eyes open, you can find inspiration in unexpected places.”

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