By May 2, 2017 Read More →

CountryView – 25 Years of Country

By D.J. Walker

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Kat Country 103! For quite a while Kat Country has thanked it’s listeners with an annual free country music festival called the “Listener Appreciation Concert”, or LAC for short. Each show has been unique, fun and memorable. And this year will prove to be just as fun, featuring three time Grammy Nominee Joe Nichols, the band Parmalee, an all female trio called Runaway June, American Idol’s Lauren Alania, and new comer Bailey Bryan taking over the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds in Turlock June 3rd.

The stage of the LAC has proved to be a launching pad for many new country stars whose careers have taken off after playing the LAC and most of it all began right off Canal Drive in Turlock.

In 2007, I remember vividly a young lady in a sundress and red cowboy boots walk onto the LAC stage, grab the mic from the stand and open her set by rapping Eminem’s “Lose Yourself”. The crowd didn’t know what to think, but they loved it! She abruptly stopped and said, “…I write songs about boys…” and played her latest hit.

Another memory from ’08 was tall, 6-foot 10-inch Good Ole Boy that was preparing for his stage introduction. Backstage this up and coming singer walked past the ramp that would lead up to stage-right and instead, walked directly to the rear of the stage, took off his cowboy hat, crouched down and squeezed himself into a some sort of box/contraption underneath the stage. As I looked at him, puzzled, he said, “First impressions are a bitch when you’re tall!” Suddenly the band kicked in and the under-stage mechanism he was in began to rise. The crowd saw him appear from out of nowhere as he strummed his first of many hits to come.

In 2009 a young, rebel of a new country artist walked into the Kat Country tent for an interview and I knew right away he was unique. While I was asking him about his music and his road from Nashville to the Central Valley, I could tell by the way he looked directly into my eyes with every answer he was a singer that knew exactly who he was and where he came from. Later when he took the stage he asked, “Are you ready to get weird…?” and the crowd cheered as the band rocked Turlock.

In 2010 an unknown Family Trio was on stage at the Stanislaus Country Fairgrounds giving 20,000 LAC fans a high-energy show. The electricity from the crowd spurred them on to keep pushing their performance to the point that when their set ended, they ran off the stage dripping in sweat, smiling ear to ear and exclaimed, “That’s the Biggest crowd we’ve ever played for!”

Those are the memories of these new country artists that tens of thousands of Kat Country fans all have shared.

Oh, and who were those new, up and coming artists? Just Taylor Swift, Blake Shelton, Eric Church and The Band Perry! Other promising artists from the past also include Toby Keith, Rascal Flatts, Jon Pardi and Lee Brice just to name a few. Who knows how much luck the LAC stage will bring to these new artists that are playing this year, but the track record so far is a pretty good one. And almost all of those memories were made in Turlock.

To find out more info on the Kat Country 103 LAC and to get free tickets just go to

D.J. Walker
KAT Country 103.3 Morning Show Host



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