FFire up the grill, chill the drinks and turn up the volume for the KNIX Barbeque and Beer Festival presented by KNIX 102.5FM and Forty8 Live.
Arizona’s biggest annual barbecue event returns for its 14th year to Tumbleweed Park in Chandler on Saturday, March 25, with Chris Janson, Craig Morgan, Hailey Whitters and Connor Smith on stage.
The ultimate barbecue experience includes a full day of food, foam and sound, including over 30 barbecue masters; several themed bars; line dancing; a massive March Madness sports bar; a lumberjack show; a children’s area; and an expanded VIP area starting at $225, featuring a catered barbecue, private bars, shaded areas, standing pit access in front of the stage, restrooms, exclusive VIP entertainment, plush seating, fire pits and a commemorative lanyard.
Part of the profits from the event will be donated to various associations.
The Academy of Country Music winner says he’ll be hunting in Florida between stops on his Heavy & Western tour.
The outdoors holds a special place in the Missouri-born singer’s heart, with honors such as the Angler’s Best Friend award from Bass Pro Shops as well as the Dan and Cherie Hammond Sharing the Harvest award from the Tennessee Wildlife Foundation in May. 2022 for its conservation efforts.
His signature Black Bass Pro Hat has raised nearly $1 million for conservation efforts such as Harpeth Conservancy, Hunters for the Hungry, Tennessee Riverkeeper.
If you want to “rock your face in the name of country music,” Janson says he’ll be there to play his fun hits like “Fix A Drink,” “Good Vibes,” and triple-platinum “Buy Me A Boat.” .” It will tap into deeper emotions with more thoughtful truths like “Done” and “Things You Can’t Live Without” and ACM Video of the Year “Drunk Girl.”
“If you’ve got a heavy weight on your shoulders, this is the perfect gig to come in, release it and, you know, just take a breather,” Janson said.
Janson shows his true personality with his new single “All I Need Is You”, part of his debut with Big Machine Label Group in partnership with his own Harpeth 60 Records. The song is about how nothing compares to the woman he loves, his wife Kelly Lynn – and not getting caught up in the season’s biggest dollar, the brand new Chevy or whatever caught our eye.
“Fun songs feel good, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t great musicality underneath,” Janson says. “The recording was a blast – and there’s so much more music to come this year.”
Although he enjoys golfing in the Valley, Janson says he welcomes everyone to the show with good vibes.
“If you’re looking to be blessed, to feel good, to forget your cares and worries, to sing hit songs you know, we’ll play it and I’ll sing it loud and proud,” Janson says.
Army veteran, country music artist and author Craig Morgan says “it wasn’t my plan, it was God’s plan.”
Before Morgan had hits like “Redneck Yacht Club,” “That’s What I Like Sunday” and “International Harvester,” he served more than 17 years in the U.S. military.
Now the country music legend who played more than 60 shows a year for 20 years will make a stop at the BBQ & Beer Festival in Chandler.
“First of all, I’m not a legend,” Morgan says. “Secondly, I do every show that’s if everyone there had never heard it.”
Morgan says Janson opened for him over the years and someone he’s known for nearly a decade “before he had a hit.”
“He has great songs,” says Morgan. “Songs that I think the majority of our fans can relate to.”
A man who knows the service from his time in the military, Morgan has spent a long time battling “one of our nation’s greatest undisclosed tragedies”: human trafficking.
“I’ve seen what it does to people,” Morgan says. “So I want to do everything I can to try to stop it.”
Her latest album, titled “God, Family, Country (Deluxe Edition)” like her memoir, debuted in November. It contains five new songs.
Morgan says he spent eight months putting it together and while it may have similarities to his previous work, it’s something new and fresh.
“So I think they’ll find similarities in the storylines, but they’ll definitely hear some freshness in the melodies and lyrics and even my voice,” Morgan said. “I feel like my voice on this album was stronger than it’s ever been.”
Morgan says he tried to bridge the gap between sounding more traditional and staying within the realm of more modern songs.
“I hope when they leave there they feel loved, inspired, motivated and some sense of happiness and joy in their lives because of what we did that day,” Morgan said. .
The influx of social media has changed the music industry with voices like Luke Combs and Morgan Wallen.
Songwriting seemed like “doable” work and by the age of 6 he was writing his own. Signing at the age of 9 with his first label as he became immersed in the songs and where they came from, the Music City native signed with The Valory Music Co. on October 3, 2019 and officially joined the Big Machine Label group. He is only 22 years old.
“So it’s been a crazy journey, man, but I’m just grateful to be able to live my dream every day,” Smith said.
He will open for the KNIX BBQ and Beer Festival.
The summer before his senior year of high school, Smith recounts opening Sam Hunt to 35,000 people in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
“I was just this normal kid in high school who was just going to baseball practice and then all of a sudden, in the middle of my summer, I had to open for Sam Hunt,” Smith says.
Other memorable opportunities presented themselves in 2022 when he supported Thomas Rhett at Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, and made his Grand Ole Opry debut in May.
“It’s one of those things that lives up to the hype,” Smith says. “You hear about Red Rocks and Opry all the time, but this really is as special as they say it is.”
He has special memories of finding his sweet tooth in the valley.
During a visit with his brother’s best friend to Spring Training, Smith discovered Novel Ice Cream in downtown Phoenix in 2021, and says it has become his “favorite thing in the world.”
Typically, Smith says he takes a regular donut with vanilla ice cream, but the last time he indulges in vanilla ice cream with Captain Crunch on it.
“So every time I’m in Phoenix, I have to run that way,” Smith says. “So I think the last time I was there I caught two.”
He also loves football, showing some love to his hometown team, the University of Tennessee Volunteers, with his music video “Orange and White” which has had over 100,000 views on YouTube.
Smith has made several trips to Arizona, including when he opened for Thomas Rhett in Phoenix, and is looking forward to a return trip to the Valley as part of his big plans in 2023.
“It’s going to be a big year,” Smith said. “So, nice to spend some of this time with you in Arizona.”
KNIX Barbeque and Beer Festival with Chris Janson, Craig Morgan, Hailey Whitters and Conner Smith
WHEN: From 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday March 25
OR: Tumbleweed Park, 745 E. Germann Road, Chandler
COST: Tickets start at $55; children 12 and under free