Rodney Atkins and Frankie Ballard team up for an evening at Oglebay Park

By Dave Parsons


Oglebay Park, known for its scenic beauty and expansive grounds nestled in the hills near Wheeling, WV, provided a picturesque setting for the feature concert of their annual Backyard BBQ Festival on May 25, 2024.  The natural slope amphitheater started filling up with folks excited to hear country singers Frankie Ballard and Rodney Atkins.

However, the weather had other plans. As the sun began to set, clouds rolled in and a light drizzle started to fall. Despite the looming threat of heavier rain, the spirits of the attendees remained high. Umbrellas and ponchos appeared, and the crowd seemed determined to weather the storm, and enjoy the music, no matter what.

Frankie Ballard, the country rocker known for his rockabilly performances took the stage first and launched into an old Elvis Presley song called Tiger Man. The upbeat anthem was the perfect choice to kick off the night. Similar covers, such as the classics Summertime Blues and Born To Be Wild had the crowd wanting more.

Ballard showed his true showmanship. Rather than letting the downpour dampen the set, he played with even more energy and interacting with the audience. His performance of It All Started with a Beer, took on a new layer of camaraderie, as the crowd, soaked but undeterred, swayed and sang along to the romantic tune.

The rain was now coming down harder, but Ballard’s enthusiasm never waned. As he thanked the audience and left the stage, the cheers and applause were thunderous, a clear indication of the impact he had made.

As Frankie Ballard exited the stage, the rain let up for a few minutes. It took stagehands nearly 35 minutes to get Ballard’s equipment off the stage and get Rodney Atkins equipment set up.  At exactly 9 PM, as Rodney Atkins was introduced, it started to rain again and by the first chorus, it seemed to intensified, with heavy sheets of rain soaking the park and turning the ground into a muddy mess. Yet, the audience remained resolute, their dedication to seeing Rodney Atkins unwavering.

Rodney Atkins, a veteran country star known for his heartfelt lyrics and relatable themes, took the stage amidst the torrential downpour. Dressed in a black polo shirt and  baseball cap, Atkins acknowledged the weather with a grin and a shrug, instantly earning the crowd’s admiration. He opened his set with Take a Back Road, a fitting choice given the muddy, rain-soaked conditions.

From the outset, it was clear that Atkins was not going to let the rain hinder his performance. His powerful voice cut through the sound of the rain, and his genuine connection with the audience shone through every song. Tracks like Farmer’s Daughter and He’s Mine had the crowd singing along loudly despite the challenging conditions.

Atkins expressed his gratitude in everyone sticking it out, and he spoke about the power of music to bring people together, even in the face of adversity. As the rain picked up again, Atkins launched into Cleaning This Gun (Come On In Boy), a track that showcases his storytelling prowess and sense of humor. It’s hard enough to do story songs in a festival type atmosphere, but when you are trying to overcome the weather too makes it twice as hard.  Atkins did both though, as the crowd sang the song bac k to him. 

As the night progressed, the rain showed no signs of letting up, but neither did Atkins’ determination to deliver an unforgettable show. He closed his set with 3 of his biggest hits: Watching You, It’s America and These Are My People. The sight of hundreds of fans, soaked but smiling, singing along in the pouring rain was a powerful and emotional end to the night.

Atkins came back out for an encore, one of his first hits but very apropos for the night, If You’re Going Through Hell. Soaked to the bone, the song took on new significance as the audience found solace in the lyrics and in braving the storm together. 

Not just for the concert itself this show will be remembered for years to come. Both artists delivered performances that were exceptional and the rain, rather than dampening the spirits of the attendees, added a unique and memorable dimension to the event.

Frankie Ballard Setlist

  1) Tiger Man

  2) Freight Train of Troubles

  3) Young & Crazy

  4) Summertime Blues

  5) It All Started With a Beer

  6) You’ll Accomp’ny Me

  7)  Helluva Life

  8)  Born to be Wild

  9)  Sunshine & Whiskey

10)  Soldier

Rodney Atkins Setlist

  1) Take A Back Road

  2) He’s Mine

  3) Farmer’s Daughter

  4) About the South

  5) Caught Up In The Country

  6) For What It’s Worth

  7) Cleaning This Gun (Come on in Boy)

  8) Long Haired Country Boy

  9) Friends With Tractors

10) Hole In One

11) Years Are Short

12) Watching You

13) It’s America

14) These Are My People


15) If You’re Going Through Hell (Before the Devil Even Knows)


Photo Gallery : Rodney Atkins – Oglebay Park (05.25.2024)


Photo Gallery : Frankie Ballard – Oglebay Park (05.25.2024)

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