Peanut Fest entertainment announced

Published 10:04 pm Wednesday, August 2, 2017

By Ella Bronaugh


Fans of country music will be thrilled to hear that Joe Nichols and Josh Phillips will be returning to the Peanut Fest this year.

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Two days of the festival’s 39th celebration were canceled last year due to inclement weather during Hurricane Matthew, but the festival will return better than ever this year on Oct. 5-8 with performances from these two influential country artists.

Suffolk Peanut Fest Executive Director Lisa Key is highly anticipating the musical talent that will be featured in this year’s Peanut Fest.

“Unfortunately, last year’s severe weather prohibited Joe Nichols and Josh Phillips from playing, so we are grateful we can feature them for 2017,” she said. “These acts are extremely talented and are expected to put on a good show.

“Last year’s cancellation was a first of its kind, and it was heartbreaking for all of the volunteers whose blood, sweat and tears bring this festival to life,” she added. “We hated to disappoint the community, but the safety of our attendees, vendors, exhibitors, volunteers and staff is always our No. 1 concern. I think we’re all looking forward to celebrating the 40th Annual Suffolk Peanut Fest.”

After a year without the Peanut Fest, Suffolk is no doubt anxious for spectacular performances from the entertainment this year.

Country singer Michael Ray is Saturday’s Budweiser Main Stage headliner. He recently earned his second No. 1 hit single with “Think A Little Less.” The track has earned more than 1.1 billion airplay audience impressions, more than 32 million on-demand streams, has sold 500,000 track equivalents and is one of the Top 10 most-downloaded country songs of the year so far. When the debut single “Kiss You In The Morning” from his self-titled album hit the top of the charts, Ray became the only new male country artist to have a No. 1 single in 2015.

“The fan support I’ve received in the two and a half years since my debut single premiered has been unbelievable,” Ray stated in a press release from the Peanut Festival. “It has carried me through two No. 1 songs and hundreds of performances.”

Joe Nichols, who will be featured in Sunday’s entertainment, is a four-time Grammy nominee and the Academy of Country Music’s “Top New Male Vocalist” award winner. His album “Crickets” debuted in the Top 3 on the Billboard Country Albums Chart and spawned the two multi-week No. 1, RIAA gold-certified hits “Yeah” and “Sunny and 75.” Nichols has six No. 1 hits and eight Top 10 singles to his credit, including chart-toppers like “Brokenheartsville,” “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off” and “Gimmie That Girl,” and Top 10 smashes like “The Impossible,” “If Nobody Believed In You,” “What A Guy Gotta Do,” “Size Matters” and “I’ll Wait For You.”

Nichols said in an interview last year before the Peanut Fest’s cancellation that he remembers going to county fairs as a child and seeing his favorite musicians.

“The atmosphere of a county fair, to me, is a fun one,” he said. “The fairs always seem to make me happy, no matter what happens.”

Josh Phillips, Sunday’s opening act, dubs himself as a traditional country lyricist with a little more of a rock delivery.

“This isn’t straight ahead country or another Southern rock sound. I don’t see myself blending in. I want to create music that stands out,” Phillips said in an interview from last year.

Over the first four years of his music career, he has played more than 400 shows in more than a dozen states, appearing at festivals and top venues and opening for national acts including Cole Swindell, Chris Janson, Sam Hunt and Tyler Farr.

He has also written with such artists as Love & Theft, Channing Wilson and Alabama’s Kemo Forrest.

This four-decade celebration will be unmissable with other major performances, such as The Deloreans on the Budweiser Main Stage on Friday night after the Demolition Derby and Jenny Tolman Saturday night. Aside from these musical productions, there will be plenty of entertainment for the festival-goers, as there are three performance areas hosting national, regional and local acts, including the Harvest Family Stage and the Peanut Lounge.

The Suffolk Mud Jam will also be returning this year, along with the Virginia Festival of Flight.

Suffolk Peanut Fest general admission is $10 per person; children 6 and younger are free. Admission includes all concerts, motorsport events, Festival of Flight, family areas and more.

Thursday is Carload Day, where $40 includes admission plus all-you-can-ride wristbands for up to eight people. Sunday is Military Appreciation Day, when military families with the proper identification will receive half off individual admission tickets. Wristband Day will be offered at $30 a person on Sunday. Tickets are on sale now at

For more information on this year’s Peanut Fest, visit the website at or the Facebook page.