By Charles Collier, The Denmark News
Photos by Cody Sinkula, Y100 Radio
DENMARK—On Saturday, June 10 more than 1,200 country music-lovers packed into Veterans Memorial Park in Denmark and brought to conclusion eight months of planning and organizing by the Denmark Lions Club when The Raglanders, Confederate Railroad and Jerrod Niemann, “Rocked the Hill.”
An exceptionally hot day was cooled by steady breezes. The wind continued through the night at a calm pace, keeping away mosquitoes beneath a crystal-clear night sky and maintaining a Goldilocks’ temperature for the night of rockin’ tunes.
Expected to become an annual event, one could get used to the view of the stage along the park’s wooded edge. Some had wondered what the staging would look like in the small town, yet it could not have looked more naturally fitting to have big-time music in Denmark.
“I’m having the time of my life tonight!” Green Bay’s Sue Johnke said. “I’ve never been here before, but it’s so pretty! It makes me want to move to a small town!”
More than 100 volunteers with the Denmark Lions Club made the event go off without a hitch, including setting up the barrier fence around the venue on the muggy, mosquito-friendly day before. Every facet of the event was staffed by volunteers, creating what Lion Susan Selner called, “a completely community-oriented event.”
Though attendance did not meet the transformed venue’s capacity, the 1,300-strong who came down to Veterans Memorial Park for the show ranged from toddlers to college kids to grandparents; from families to couples to single people. The grit and glory of country was on full display and received thunderous (and at times beer-soaked) applause.
An impromptu poll by Confederate Railroad vocalist Danny Shirley leading into, “Still One Outlaw Left” made apparent that some in the crowd had spent a night in jail before. Despite the inference, few security instances arose for the Brown County officers and privately contracted Tri-Bolt security to deal with.
“With outdoor events like this, it’s always kind of a trap-shoot.” one Tri-Bolt member said.
“When things are indoors, all you have to do is get someone to the door and the situation is handled. Out here, there’s no door so it can get a little more difficult.”
According to the Brown County Sheriff’s Office there were no arrests and only one ejection was necessary.
“We had to give one person a cab ride home. For the most part, everyone was pretty well-behaved.” said one Brown County officer who was on-duty.
Tim Czarneski of 21 Gun Saloon said the event brought in business to make it better than a regular Saturday, but that the push wasn’t as large as he was expecting.
“It’s the first year, though. Next year it’ll get better, and the year after that and the year after that. It was a very cool event.” Czarneski said.
All sights are on making Rockin’ The Hill a summer staple in Denmark. Despite a lower-than-expected turnout, there is no doubt within organizer Melissa Trepanier that the event will continue to grow in following years.
“Denmark as a whole—from the business sponsors, to the school district, the fire department—everyone really pulled through and made this run smoothly.” Trepanier said.
“We’re pretty excited and the feedback has been excellent. We wish more people would have come, but for a first year event we’re pleased with how it all came together.”
Trepanier said the club will be taking a breather, but that when planning for next summer’s gig begins this fall the Lions will have a head-start having worked out many organizational kinks this time around.
“We’re hoping to be able to announce who it’s going to be a little sooner, make some changes to the layout, and we’re not necessarily tied to one genre of music.”
With some sponsors already inquiring for involvement in next summer’s event, Denmark residents can be sure to have another opportunity to Rock the Hill.