Photo: David McGregor . Willie Nelson performs to a crowd at Coolray Field.
LAWRENCEVILLE — By Monday afternoon, Willie Nelson and the rest of his Country Throwdown tour members were long gone, but the ringing in North Johnson’s ears was not. The Gwinnett Braves general manager was back at Coolray Field, which was back to resembling a ballpark and not a concert venue.
A crowd of about 5,600 people attended the daylong country concert on Sunday, with Johnson calling the G-Braves’ first foray into hosting a major concert a success.
“For our first large concert, I think everything went very well,” Johnson said. “The people that came out to the show had a blast. I was having a good time watching everyone else have a good time.”
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Johnson said if he had it to do over, there’s not a lot he would do differently. He was pleased with how his staff handled the crowds and how the event went off as a whole.
“Maybe from the marketing and advertising standpoint, for more ticket sales — add more pop and sizzle on the last couple days. Overall, everything else went well,” he said.
Coolray Field will next host a concert on Aug. 19 when Kenny Loggins and the Boston Pops visit. The concerts are part of the organization’s plan to book more dates at the field.
“We would definitely love to see more concerts come through the stadium,” Johnson said. “We would love to have more events come through during the fall — the offseason — but if something else like the Throwdown Tour comes, we’ll try to accommodate that, too.”
Tickets to the Boston Pops and Kenny Loggins are on sale, ranging from $43.85 to $87.50.
But on Sunday, the focus was on Nelson, the country legend and headliner of the Country Throwdown tour.
“I came out to the show to see Willie Nelson for his iconic status,” said Blane Nullinax, 30, of Lawrenceville. “I think that Willie Nelson may be one of the most predominant artists that is most overlooked in music in general. The show is great.”
Lilburn resident Mendy Smith, 32, said she went to the concert because Nelson was on her list of artists to see perform.
“I like to go to a lot of country concerts, but he is one at the top that I’ve wanted to see, and so far I think he’s fabulous,” Smith said. “He’s everything I would have expected.”
Even the artists said they are having a blast on the tour. For many of those on the Bluebird Stage — the up-and-coming singer-songwriters — this is their first mainstream, festival tour.
“The tour has been really awesome,” artist Erin Enderlin said. “For someone like me, who got their start in songwriting, it’s cool to watch someone like him (Nelson) who got his start songwriting. I never thought I’d see my name on the same poster as Willie Nelson.”
“The Georgia crowd is probably the best crowd we’ve played so far — not even kidding,” singer-songwriter Dani Flowers said. “They are here to hear any kind of music. It has been one of the biggest crowds we’ve had at the Bluebird tent.”
Musician Austin Lucas said he’s always been a big fan of Nelson.
“I actually thought ‘Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys’ was a nursery rhyme when I was a kid because my mom sang it to me so much,” he said.