BROOKSVILLE — Former Brooksville resident Mandi Dixon thinks it's high time someone shakes a little life into Brooksville on a Friday night. And she intends to do just that this week with a big outdoor country music bash.
The first Brooksville Country Jam, which kicks off at 5 p.m. Friday on the grounds behind the Jerome Brown Community Center at Tom Varn Park, will be headlined by Nashville country star Keith Anderson and will also feature Chad Warrix, plus Soul Circus Cowboys.
A 2005 Central High School graduate, Dixon has been promoting independent rock and country music concerts for the past several years around the Fort Myers area. But a few months ago, friends began urging her to consider bringing live concerts to the area where she grew up.
"Music promoters have always overlooked Hernando County," Dixon said. "There's potential here in that people would rather stay local than drive all the way to Tampa for a show."
Although it's her first foray into the local scene, Dixon said the Brooksville Country Jam has attracted plenty of interest in a short amount of time. And that could bode well for future concert endeavors.
"People seem to be real excited about having a big concert right in their hometown," Dixon said. "We've got a great location, and we're supposed to have great weather for the show. We're hoping to draw about 1,500 people."
Although he hasn't released a new song in a while, Anderson, 44, has had some success in country music. His 2004 debut album, Three Chord Country and American Rock & Roll, yielded four hits, including his breakout single, Pickin' Wildflowers. Other big-sellers included Every Time I Hear Your Name and I Still Miss You, a song that rose to No. 2 on the country charts in 2008.
The Oklahoma-born singer got his start performing on a country music showcase called the Grapevine Opry in Texas; he concentrated on songwriting. In addition to recording his material, Anderson was co-writer of Big & Rich's 2007 hit song, Lost in This Moment.
Best known as one of the founding members of Halfway to Hazard, Warrix is also a well-known Nashville songwriter whose credits include Tim McGraw's latest hit, Die by My Own Hand. The singer is on a nationwide radio tour promoting his debut solo single, Rain on the Roof, and recently hosted a telethon for tornado victims in Kentucky.
Dixon said that the Brooksville concert will also include several food and beverage vendors and a kids play area. Beer and wine will be sold. Patrons are encouraged to bring lawn chairs for comfort.
A portion of the proceeds from the event will benefit Hernando County-based APACK Inc. (American People Against Cop Killers).
Logan Neill can be reached at (352) 848-1435 or [email protected]