Rome River Jam had its largest attendance ever, with over 8,000 concertgoers taking to Ridge Ferry Park for the 11th annual event, according to organizer Jay Shell.

Emerging country artist and songwriter Kane Brown — a Fort Oglethorpe native — headlined the show, with just a sliver of his sizable online following getting the chance to see him live. Four other artists — Josh Bagwell, Tyler Braden, Jobe Fortner and Riley Green — took the stage before Brown’s set time of 9:30 p.m. 

A sign of the large crowd was shown days before the concert, with just general admission tickets available the day before the event. Shell said that by 3:30 p.m. the number of tickets sold had hit 8,000.

Coosa High teacher and coach Chris Parker joined students and parents in helping direct cars into the tailgate parking area before the shows began. He said Shell, who represents Coosa as a Floyd County Board of Education member, directs some proceeds to the athletic teams.

Though the show did not start until later in the afternoon, tailgates in truck beds and beneath canopy tents were set up on the backside of the park and were rocking from noon on. By 3 p.m. a long line stretched from the concert entrance near the Rome-Floyd ECO Center back deeper into the park along the walking trail.

Cornhole setups were dispersed between the rows of parked trucks and SUVs with rear doors open. An amalgam of country and rock ’n roll music, mixed with the occasional hip-hop song, was carried over the low-sitting field. Drinking games — beer pong, flip cup, shot gunning — occupied concertgoers, dressed in customary cowboys hats and boots and handling cold PBRs and Bud Lights, before the main event.