Annual Chesney concert means a boatload of fun


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The Kenny Chesney concert isn't until Saturday, but on the North Shore, the party has already started.

Boats are docked and on-board bars are stocked. Shirts are off and swimsuits are on. Shoes are optional, sunglasses are mandatory. The country music concert may be in Heinz Field, but hundreds of boatloads of people swear that the best seat in the house is on the Allegheny River.

"It's pretty much the biggest boat party of the year," said Terry Grantz, 36, of Allison Park.

The boat party has yet to reach its peak, but already this morning, dozens of boats were docked along the shore, and some have been there for a few days.

"We've been here for a while, I'll just leave it at that, if you don't mind," said Mr. Grantz, founder of BoatPittsburgh.com. A couple of his friends were taking a dip in an inflatable pool, while nearby people were cooling off by jumping in the river.

Kenny Chesney, whose biggest hits include "No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem," "I Go Back" and "The Good Stuff," has been performing in Pittsburgh nearly every year for more than a decade.

The crooner might wear a cowboy hat and one of his biggest hits might be a song called "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy," but the concert is not just for country music fans.

"It's more for the party and the atmosphere," Mr. Grantz said.

The singer hails from landlocked Knoxville, Tenn., but Mr. Chesney is a boater himself and his music has been embraced by the boating community. By the time the concert starts, Mr. Grantz said, several hundred boats will be in the rivers around Heinz Field.

The boating atmosphere is what drew Dave Wingrove of Belle Vernon, who also happens to be a country fan, to the Kenny Chesney concert for the first time this year. He docked his boat, "Still Cruising," at the North Shore on Wednesday, four days before Mr. Chesney was scheduled to kick off his set.

A friend told him the Chesney concert boating scene was "a great time, great party" and so this year Mr. Wingrove, along with his wife and several friends, decided to make a long weekend of it.

"So far, it's been a great experience," he said, clad in sunglasses and a bathing suit just before noon this morning.

From his boat, he'll be able to hear double the country star power at this year's concert, since Tim McGraw is joining Mr. Chesney. The concert, which starts at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, is part of their "Brothers of the Sun" tour.

region - music

This story originally appeared in The Pittsburgh Press. To subscribe go to http://old.post-gazette.com/trypress/ Kaitlynn Riely: kriely@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1707.


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