IF YOU GO
• What: Wild Bill’s Birthday Fest
• When: 7:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday
• Where: Wild Bill’s, 2075 Market St., Duluth
• Cost: $10 to $25
• For more information: Visit wildbillsatlanta.com
DULUTH — When Wild Bill’s opened in 2003, it was known as a country music venue. Now, 10 years later, the Duluth venue hosts performers from all genres, including electronic, rap, rock and — of course — country.
“I had no clue what would happen when I opened the venue,” owner Bill Gentry said. “I was the headliner for about four years before I had the national scene.
“When we started, we were a country venue because I was a country artist. It made sense at that time. One of the things that I’ve come to realize was a respect for all the genres of music.”
The venue has seen thousands of acts come through its doors, including Lady Antebellum, Luke Bryan, Tiesto, Ryan Lewis and 2 Chainz.
“Lady A had less than 100 people in the crowd when they played here,” Gentry said with a laugh. “Now they’re playing arena shows.”
To celebrate the venue’s success, Gentry and his crew are throwing a two-day Birthday Fest this weekend.
“In the past, Birthday Fest has been saying ‘thank you’ to our customers and Gwinnett County for the love,” Gentry said. “This year, it’s not only a thank you, but I’m not letting a single person in the building — not even my mama or my band mates — unless you donate to the Wounded Warrior Project. One hundred percent of the ticket sales are going to it. I hope people will give more if they can give it.”
The owner has roots to World War II, so he’s has an appreciation for those in the military.
“I have a lot of love for what the men and women go through,” Gentry said. “But we’re gonna have a lot of fun raising the money.”
Today, Joe Nichols is headlining the show. Craig Campbell, Charlie Worsham and Chris Jansen are the opening acts.
On Saturday, Gentry is headlining the party with Eric Paslay, Maggie Rose and Jason Mitchell taking stage first.
“In our next 10 years, we want to embrace all the music and culture,” Gentry said. “Gwinnett County’s culture is changing too. A lot of people moving to our county is bring new culture. It’s time for Wild Bill’s to open its arms to the new music.”