One of country music's biggest acts heads home to East Tennessee this weekend for a career milestone. "The Band Perry" is set to give a free concert in Greeneville to launch its second studio album.
The community has been preparing for the big night for six weeks. Organizers said Saturday's show is the largest event the town has ever hosted. Now, its down to the last 48 hours until downtown streets switch into a stadium.
Crews will set up the stage on Main St., near the Election Commission office, starting at 6pm on Friday. The town will close five-square blocks of downtown where fans can listen to the show. Organizers said they expect at least 35,000 people to show up.
That's a contrast to the group's first album launch two years ago, which was also held in Greeneville. That event was planned in three days, and attracted a crowd of 7,000, according to Ferguson.
"'The Band Perry' is no longer a group that can freely walk around. Security is very, very tight," said President of the Greene County Partnership Tom Ferguson. "The Partnership" is working with the band's father, Dr. Stephen Perry, on coordinating all efforts. Ferguson said Dr. Perry approached him six weeks ago about the event.
"They were out handing out water, you know, right after the tornadoes. They have a strong attachment to the community," Ferguson said.
Local National Guard members, and every police officer and sheriff's deputy in Greene County will be on duty, as well as hundreds of volunteers.
"We will have food. We will have beverages. I might add that this is a family-friendly event," said Ferguson.
The concert area opens to fans at noon on Saturday; the show starts at 6 p.m. The band also plans to give fans more than live music Ferguson said, "They'll line up and sign autographs for probably five hours."
While "The Band Perry's" music is now heard around the world, brothers Neil and Reid, along with sister Kimberly, call "Greeneville" home. They spent part of their teen years in the quaint East Tennessee town.
"These kids seem to really have their head on straight, and to see them come back and give back to the community, it's really a good thing," said John Price, a Greeneville street vendor.
Price owns a hot dog stand, and sells meals to locals most days of the year. He said he and his wife will expand their offerings on Saturday to make the most out of the concert.
"Just for Saturday, I've got just under two thousand hot dogs ordered...events like this really help me out and make my finances a little better," said Price.
Ferguson said "The Band Perry" is allowing the Greene County Partnership to "use their name as a marketing tool to try to attract tourism." He said the goal is to boost the local economy.
Due to the expected large crowd, organizers have set a few rules: umbrellas, lawn chairs, alcohol and coolers are not allowed.
Parking could be challenging, so organizers have set up shuttle service from two locations to the concert area. Shuttle service begins at noon for those who park in the Roby Adult Center lot or Hal Henard Elementary School lot.
You can find more information about handicap parking, as well as a plan for bad weather, on the Greene County Partnership's Facebook page or on the Town of Greeneville's Facebook page.