— Luke Bryan (@lukebryan) July 23, 2020
No matter what page you turn in this never-ending coronavirus book, the ending is never happy.
And Luke Bryan’s recent announcement that he was having to call off his Farm Tour scheduled for this Fall, it was just another disappointment for Bryan and his fans.
What started in 2008 in Claxton, Georgia as a way to bring his show to small towns that never had concerts coming through their rural communities had been going strong for the past 11 years in a row. And it’s grown right along with Bryan’s own career. That first Farm Tour show in Claxton only had about 2,200 fans. Which at the time, Byran though was a lot of people. “At that point in your career, you’re losing money at almost every show. Nobody’s showing up because they don’t know who I am,” Bryan recalled when we caught up at one of his 2018 Farm Tour shows. “So I just decided to try a new avenue.”
Growing up in small-town Leesburg means that Bryan knows what it’s like to love country music but never really have the chance to see it close to home. “The thing is, I know these people. They’re my people. I know what they’re like. And it doesn’t matter if it’s in Georgia, Florida, Alabama or the Midwest. They get up, pour their coffee, go to work,” he’d said. “So the fact that we can come in here and give them a break from that routine is what I always wanted to do.”
At the Wisconsin stop on his 2019 Farm Tour, Bryan told me how he’s gotten from point A to point B in his career is by having fun and connecting with a crowd, in a bar, an arena, a stadium or in that case, a farm.
“You stay yourself through all of it. No matter what I’ve done or where I’ve been, I’ve gotten on stage with two goals: make sure I’m the one having fun, and then make sure everybody out there is along for that ride. And I’m fortunate now that I don’t have worries, like, ’Am I gonna have enough hits to do a full show?’ There’s still the challenge out there to push the music, and to try to make the best music you can. Bottom line for me is, I have to be myself and connect with crowd. Even though the vibe here is different, it’s up to me to set the tone,” he said of the crowd of 20,000 fans who showed up that night last September. “What I really miss is being naïve. I remember being a country music fan, and always wondering, ’What is going on backstage? What do those cables power? Where do they go?’ And then watching the drummer for five straight minutes. Then watching each individual band member do their thing.
“Even when I was out opening for (Tim) McGraw, (Rascal) Flatts, and Jason (Aldean), I was still geeking out over the whole experience. I was trying to take it all in. Those moments, being naïve, that’s the fun part. I mean, there might be a kid out there tonight who might be inspired to go do music. Maybe he’ll remember for the rest of his life, ’That crazy Luke Bryan put stage up in a farm field. I want to do that.’”
In his announcement on Wednesday (July 23), Bryan shared a note with his fans that read:
“To all my farm tour fans out there, I’m sad to announce the 2020 Farm Tour shows will not happen due to COVID-19. We’ve been going strong for the past 11 consecutive years so this one really hurts. We have looked at all kinds of ways to continue with the shows this year but couldn’t come up with a solution to give y’all the full Farm Tour experience while keeping everyone safe. Until next year! Love y’all.”