Houston & Peach

Darius Rucker announced for Warner Robins Independence Day concert

WARNER ROBINS -- Another star musician from the South is coming to Warner Robins to help celebrate Independence Day.

Darius Rucker was announced Monday as the headline act for this summer’s concert.

The event, to be held outside the Museum of Aviation for the first time, is scheduled for July 3.

“I’ve been so excited about this announcement coming,” said Randy Toms, the mayor of Warner Robins. “This is an incredible act. ... I think he’s going to turn this place upside down.”

Rucker, who is following up a performance by .38 Special last year, first rose to fame in the 1990s as lead singer and guitarist for Hootie and the Blowfish. Since then, he has released four albums as a country artist.

The most recent album, “Southern Style,” featuring the single “Homegrown Honey,” was released this year.

The annual Warner Robins Independence Day concert, held for the last 33 years, draws thousands to the city. That long-standing tradition is part of why bigger acts are targeted each year, said Chrissy Miner of the Independence Day Celebration committee.

“This concert has deep roots in Warner Robins ... and so every year we’ve tried to go bigger and better,” she said.

The event has been held at McConnell-Talbert Stadium in the past, but with the field at the stadium getting an upgrade to artificial turf this summer, a move was necessary.

The museum offers advantages of space and a more tangible connection to the Air Force base that is such a big part of the Warner Robins community, Miner said.

“I think there’s a little bit more room to spread out here,” she said. “As things evolve and things change, we’re just thankful the museum is allowing us to have this here.”

The concert itself is also a part of the relationship between the base and the city. Miner said the annual event is a chance for both sides to show appreciation for each other’s contributions.

“This is a mutual expression between the base and the community, ‘Thanks for all you do throughout the year. Let’s have fun,’” she said.

Col. Christopher F. Nick, commander of the Air Force Reserve Command Recruiting Service at Robins, noted that the event is a good opportunity to showcase the “citizen airman” concept and bring in people that could potentially enlist for service.

He was especially appreciative of Rucker and past artists’ willingness to make the concert such an attraction. Rucker is also scheduled to perform a concert for troops in Pensacola, Florida, on July 4.

“That talent that comes are true patriots because they’re giving of their time,” he said.

Telegraph writer Jennifer Burk contributed to this report.