NORFOLK, Va. — The Patriotic Festival is back in Norfolk!
The country music festival kicked off tonight at Scope Arena, where city leaders are anticipating 20,000 people over the weekend.
The weather isn't looking great for the holiday weekend, so a lot of the pre-show activities were moved inside. However, that's a big reason why organizers moved the festival from Virginia Beach to Norfolk two years ago-- more indoor space.
That means the show can go on despite the wind and possible rain this weekend, and it was off to a rocking start Friday night.
"We decided to come out, have some fun," said Khadija Vasser.
The night kicked off with country music newcomer Cooper Alan, which Vasser and Justice Munroe were thrilled about.
"We first saw him at the state fair like up in like Richmond, so that made us come down here to see him," said Vasser.
"Yeah, we're definitely groupies," laughed Munroe.
Sharon Capodanno came all the way from Delaware to see "Fancy Like" singer Walker Hayes perform Friday night.
"We’re here because I won tickets on the radio from Froggy 99.9," she said. "I’ve been wanting to see him and Sam Hunt tomorrow night."
Patriotic Festival President Ira Agricola said this weekend is about more than just the music.
"It means that we honor the men and women in uniform," he said. "We like to visibly, and in a big way, express that as a region."
He said at some of the pre-show activities that are now on the upper and lower concourses, free of charge, it's all about veteran support. On Saturday, a group will be giving away a service dog to a veteran in need. There are also booths with lots of resources for service men and women to check out.
Pat Nottingham and Peggy Cobb agree that’s what it’s all about.
"What they’re doing and doing it on Memorial Day is letting these veterans and our service people know that they’re not forgotten," said Cobb.
That being said, she and Nottingham said they don't miss a chance to hear live country music, and they're hoping to score more autographs for their collection.
Sam Hunt takes the stage tomorrow night at the Scope Arena and Cody Johnson closes the festival on Sunday.
Gates open at 6:00 p.m. and the concert starts at 7:00 all weekend.