Sister Hazel frontman Ken Block thanks the capacity crowd at the Lake Martin Amphitheater following their Labor Day Concert Sunday night. The crowd was among the largest ever at The AMP. | Kenneth Boone
Sister Hazel frontman Ken Block thanks the capacity crowd at the Lake Martin Amphitheater following their Labor Day Concert Sunday night. The crowd was among the largest ever at The AMP. | Kenneth Boone

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Sister Hazel, Corey Smith rock Lake Martin AMP

Published 5:04pm Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Sister Hazel, Corey Smith and The Vegabonds attracted one of the biggest crowds in the Lake Martin Amphitheater’s history Sunday night to end the 2013 summer concert series on a high note.
Robert Gunn, Russell Lands’ events manager, said they’ll begin totalling up pre-sales, comp tickets and gate receipts later this week to find an official attendance.
“But from my perspective, it looked like one of the biggest — if not the biggest — crowd we’ve ever had here,” he said.
It’s surely possible to pack more concert goers onto the amphitheater’s grassy hillside, but people would be “packed like sardines.”
“We like everyone to be able to have their chairs, their blankets and be comfortable,” he said.
The last time Sister Hazel played The AMP in 2009, Gunn said, the attendance was around 4,400. Sunday night was bigger than that, he said, guessing the total would be “around 4,500 to 5,000.”
Sister Hazel made their return after four years with their chart-topping hit “All for You” and 2000 radio hit “Change Your Mind.”
Singer/songwriter Corey Smith had the capacity crowd on its feet from the first pluck of his guitar and his Southern-fried lyrics and humorous reflections on life and love in the South.
“We appreciate you making us feel so at home,” Smith said from the stage. “We always love being on Lake Martin.”
Gunn said the venue, the scenery and the fanbase always get high marks from entertainers.
“(Sister Hazel lead singer) Ken Block said this is one of their favorite places to play,” Gunn said. “They love coming here, they like the crowd reaction and the feel of the place. And as Corey was getting on the bus, he told me that anytime we’d have his band, just let him know.”
The huge turnout was much-needed after a strange summer of unpredictable weather. The threat of rain hurt attendance for the Confederate Railroad on Memorial Day, he said, and the annual Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular was pushed back to July 5 by steady rainfall.
“So last night was just awesome,” Gunn said.
He also praised local favorite the Vegabonds, who feature musicians from Alexander City and Auburn and predicted they are “right on the cusp” of breaking out.
The planning for the summer season “really never stops,” he said. Gunn said they’ll begin discussing the entertainment budget for summer 2014 in a few weeks and he’s already working on a short list of bands he’d like to approach.

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