Another amazing Back Road

Mike Landis, Editor
The crowd selfie has become a staple of Galva’s annual Back Road Music Festival. The largest crowd in the five-year history of the event enjoyed headliner Josh Turner, Ashley McBryde, High Valley and Chase Bryant.

One of the Back Road Music Festival organizers — Nik Grafelman — referred to the event as a “well-oiled machine” when previewing Galva’s annual country music gathering a couple of weeks ago.

That assessment proved to be spot on as Grafelman and Tyler Glaser spearheaded another successful Back Road festival Saturday in the Galva Park District.

“We had a lot of good feedback,” Glaser said. “Everybody was pretty happy.”

That happiness was reflected in the crowd. While the total attendance figure isn’t official yet, Glaser labeled the crowd as “the most we’ve ever had, I think.”

As the festival was winding down, Glaser and Grafelman went to a perch that sits high over the event and took a look around.

“We can’t believe what it has become. It’s pretty amazing,”Glaser said.

The nearly seven hours of music featured Ashley McBryde, High Valley, Chase Bryant and Josh Turner on the main stage, with Tasji Bachman, Chugs &Austin Music and Craig Gerdes.

In addition to the country music fans, charity is one of the big winners at the Back Road Music Festival.

Shave for the Brave netted $14,000 on the night, which means the organization can send 28 veterans on the Honor Flight of the Quad Cities. In its years at the festival, Shave for the Brave has raised enough money to send an entire flight full of veterans to Washington, D.C., Glaser said.

The Henry-Stark Relay for Life and Galva’s Freedom Fest were among other organizations that raised funds at the festival.

Glaser stressed the event is made possible by the contributions of nearly 250 volunteers and a strong group of sponsors —Country Financial, Galva Pharmacy, Hog Country 102.5 of Kewanee, FM95 of Galesburg, G&M Distributors, J Mac Metals, Reiman’s Harley-Davidson, Hoker Trucking of Dixon, Iowa, Design KT and Wiley Park Productions.

“The best part is we don’t even have to say anything to the volunteers. They just know what to do,”Glaser said.

Glaser said the festival added a family zone this year, which “went over well.”

“There are some things we need to fine tune and maybe rethink,”Glaser noted.

But the positives far, far outweigh any shortcomings and the wheels are turning for 2019.

“We’re already looking at artists and already have pricing,”Glaser said.