99.9 KISS Country Chili Cookoff: Fewer People, More Manners, Please

Categories: Concert Review
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Nothing says sexy like a Confederate flag.
If many of those in attendance at the 27th Annual 99.9 KISS Country Chili Cookoff were official representatives of the United States, they'd offer a sort of dim but realistic view of American history. 

We have a longstanding history of demonstrating unfailing pride for living in the land of the free, the home of the brave. That history, however romantic, is also one of wrongful invasions and some not-so-nice racism. Check out those Confederate flags flying high.  

Despite all of that, what 99.9 KISS Country has done is a beautiful thing. It's created a longstanding music festival that celebrates twang, freedom, and good ol' Southern glory -- one that's still able to sell out 27 years after the fest's inaugural date.
Unfortunately it's become a beast that's outgrown C.B. Smith Park, a 76,000-square-foot venue in Pembroke Pines. According to Clay Walker, the third of five performers this weekend, there were 30,000 attendees, which translates to approximately 2.5 square feet of breathing room for each.

Don't get me wrong -- that was fun for about an hour. Arriving at C.B. Smith Park around 10 a.m., a drunk and puking woman greeted us at the gate, signaling that tailgating was wildly successful.

After walking the perimeter of the park to the entrance and standing for 45 minutes in the will-call line (which was manned by two very patient women), we managed to find a spot in the middle of the concert crowd.

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It was redneck Nirvana. The scene was first described by a companion as the "Redneck Ultra" but was later changed to "Redneck Woodstock." The latter nickname soon outgrew its peaceful description.

Chris Cagle was wonderful, regaling the crowd with stories of the time he quit playing music and eventually thanking the American military troops by saying: "I had two little girls recently, and they can grow up without having to learn to speak Japanese, German, or Iranian thanks to you guys." Whoa.

You'll never see stoners at Marley Fest do anything more than chill. In fact, trying to incite a riot in a crowd of stoners would be like trying to excite a roll of toilet paper. Drunk Southerners are a different story. After purposely imbibing copious amounts of booze, they're content to dance. Occasionally they'll throw their hands over their heads and declare "Wooooooo!" But the dark side of drinking is dark indeed.

Clay Walker performed shortly after Cagle. During his performance, a nearby family moved their chairs in order to deny access to drunken attendees looking to push their way through the crowd.

One girl in a "Save a Horse, Ride a Unicorn" shirt began yelling at her mother and arguing with a cop once that tactic failed. The family's young daughter cried with nervousness. Soon, a drunken, beastly man decided to retaliate against the family's valiant stand by punching the father. That resulted in two grown men flailing on the ground in a bold statement of brute force and high intellect. 

The family left right after, the young daughter crying more heavily thanks to being kicked during the tussle. Truly a family affair. 

That opened up the floodgates. An effort to explain to the rude crowd that the family in front was blocking access failed as well. Soon, we were surrounded. We got the middle finger. We were called "bitches."

And that's when the Chili Cookoff ceased being fun. We packed up our now-trampled blankets and made apologetic noises to the poor, nonoffensive concertgoers we now had to push through.

Chris Cagle joined Clay Walker onstage. As we made the last step to leave the overly crowded area, the mother from the family in front of us was on the receiving end of a drunk man wielding his belt buckle. She fell down hard.

While it would have been nice to stay and enjoy hearing "Chicken Fried" by the Zac Brown Band, my group decided we'd taken enough chances for one day. We didn't need to become battered housewives thankyouverymuch.

To 99.9 KISS Country, please consider a larger venue, multiple stages, or a smaller admittance. Violence is never fun.


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29 comments
scotus
scotus

i live in a trailer park, i love rednecks. But you can't expect rednecks to do a woodstock.  They ain't Woodstock nation. 

aaron
aaron

my mom got ran over after trying to block rude drunk white trash from moving our stuff to get by. There was no cops to be found to make a complaint.

Melissasmith2000
Melissasmith2000

Seriously the most stupid, most fashion challenged, most annoying amateur drinkers ever. The event planners should stick to mud wrestling events. Way to make Miami cowboys look ignorant. And killer traffic patterns, by the way. Stupid is as stupid does.

Scott_c
Scott_c

Well that's great reporting, very detailed.......so who won the cook off???

HD
HD

Any word from KISS people about all these complaints?  I don't listen to the station, but between these comments and their Facebook page, they can't ignore how many people were disappointed.  Their Facebook page comments are unbelievable.

Breebt
Breebt

Most definitely a "red neck woodstock"! What rock did they crawl out from. Gone every year and this was the worst so far.

Crystal_meade
Crystal_meade

I am just arriving home to Tampa after a long , disappointing weekend!! My best friend and her husband opened their home and as a birthday gift bought tickets to the Kiss Kountry Chili Cook -Off for seven of us. I had been to many concerts at the Amp in West Palm and I love concerts in Tampa as well. In fact I turned down tickets for saturday's Zac Brown band concert here at home in Tampa. I actually paid for a house sitter/dog sitter. Bought a train ticket, made arrangements for my children all in hopes of hearing great country music and having fun with friends. From the get go there were signs of unorganized chaos. Parking and traffic were a mess, police and traffic cops were sitting on corners watching their phones. We spent  45 minutes and moved less than 20 ft. Out of 30 portalets 6 actually had toilet paper, and that count was made at 9:45 am. As the crowd thickened and beer started flowing, I cant imagine the amount of bodily waste we could have had to wade through if we stayed any longer. We all packed up and left before Luke Bryan even began. Each of us had our own run in with disorderly, unsafe circumstances, and decided to take the loss, be safe and call it a day. I really think Greed has taken over a really great concept, and event. There is nothing I love more than Country music and fun wild rednecks, this cluster #@*& was a disaster and a huge waste of money! I wont be back.

jmh
jmh

I have been going to the Chili Cook off for many, many years and yes there has always been confederate flags, long lines and people drinking too much. But yesterday seemed much, much worse. I dont think I have ever attended when it was sold out as it was yesterday but it seems like they WAY oversold. While they had event staff directing you in, there was no one there directing cars out. We sat in a line in the parking lot for over an hour. I will never go to a sold out show again. The acts were great but the amount of people in the park really did put a damper on our time. Its unfortunate what happened to this family especially in front of the children but the cook off is definitely not a place for kids. Never has been.  I think the event planners/promoters need to seriously consider going back to the two day format that the cook off origanally was.

Ilia Blandina
Ilia Blandina

The event needs to be moved to a larger space before anyone gets seriously hurt. Comments such as   "If you can't take a belt buckle to the face, just stay home. Weak." and " It's the cookoff man. Man up."  are insensitive and ridiculous.

Llopez
Llopez

I love Kiss 99.9. Every radio i own is on 99.99.  I am a Cuban American, born in Miami 50 years ago.  I trusted that Kiss 99.9 would have had projected the amount of folks that were going to come out to a the amazing list of artist like Lou Bryan and Zac Brown Concert.  I saw at least four fist fights, young girls getting hand-cuffed and carried out, and police officers having to deal with unmanageable numbers of crazy drunks.  In front of me an innocent girl came back to her parents crying becuase she had been sucker slapped in the back of the head.  I left before Zac came out because i was scared for my life.  I did not have an ounce of alcohol becuase i did not feel i would be able to help people if i needed to.  Needless to say, i will never go to a concert at SB Smith again.  I will continue to go the concerts up north.  I will continue to listen to 99.9.

Schnarfel
Schnarfel

Just stop going if you can't handle it. It will be what it is. At a certain point in people's life one feels "too old" for stuff like that. it happened to me when i didn't feel the urge to be in front row at rock shows anymore, i was happy being in the back part of the crowd...So maybe that is what is happening to you. It's like a big country college party and the reputation of college parties are, well, basically the same as your review of the cook-off. Rednecks will be there everytime, confederate flags will be there, everytime, drunken tailgaters will be there, every.time. So, i say, stop going if you already have negative stuff to say, or suck it up and stop asking for commodities as if it was an opera. It's the cookoff man. Man up.

Jnstair
Jnstair

We were also greeted at the gate by a lost and crying drunk girl who asked 'how do I get out of here". The 1.5 mile walk from Pines Boulevard to the stage was fun especially once you got in the park and found there where no signs. We followed the sidewalk through the drunk meatheads hanging out in their trucks that must have been there from the night before and arrived at a food and drink ticket line of 20 to 30 deep and about 25 feet wide. No cash accepted in park so you had to stand on line for tickets to go stand in another line for food a drinks. We saw four ticket boths for 30,000 people (Good ratio). Security at the gate consisted of one guy and a woman who didn't stop anyone unless you had a knife strapped to your belt and then they just piled em up on the ground.Inside was elbow to elbow with no event staff anywhere to be seen so you just moved with the herd. Made it to the north end, passed a few nappy looking chilli tents, hit the exit and just kept going. KISS screwed everyone. I'd be interested in the arrest and injury reports generated from this event.

Devin Desjarlais
Devin Desjarlais

There's been no official response from KISS Country as far as I've seen. It seems like they're taking the "Ignore it and it will go away approach."

HD
HD

My comment about taking a "belt buckle to the face" was in response to Schnarfel's insensitivity to others.  I guess the sarcasm got lost in internet translation.

Frustrated
Frustrated

As a fellow Cuban Redneck, lol. I understand what you are saying.I went with my 13 year old daughter who has been to numerous Country concerts including Blake Shelton free concert at the beach for the Sprint Cup. My point is, it was disgusting but I used it as a life lesson for her on what not to do. She saw how stupid and dangerous it is to get sloppy drunk like that. We saw young girls sprawled out in bushes, in truck beds, in the grass surrounded by garbage. She is a die hard Country girl and realizes this was not normal behavior.

Ktied
Ktied

not sure of your choice to use the word commodities,  could you have meant accommodations?

Trainwreck
Trainwreck

I've been to A LOT of outdoor concerts of all genres, all over the country. You expect people stepping on you and some fighting, etc. We were prepared for the rednecks and drunks. We were ready for long lines and hot, tired people. That's all fine, that's part of the deal. But, I'm telling you, the Chili Cookoff was a breed apart. There were way too many people, way too few cops and no visible organization whatsoever. I pity the people who tried to bring their kids. (This was billed as a family thing too, if you recall.) Part of the problem is that all 30,000 people are there clamoring to see one performer at a time. That's stupid. There's obviously an appetite for a good country festival, get a bigger venue, another stage worth of talent and some competent planners/promoters. 

Jnstair
Jnstair

If its a crappy event I should just stand in the back and be happy like you? Idiot

HD
HD

Yeah, man up!  If you can't take a belt buckle to the face, just stay home.  Weak.

Frustrated
Frustrated

The people in front of us brought in a huge rolling cooler but they made me throw my water bottle away. If you look on chili cook off's facebook page there are people with flasks.I read one womans post about a guy threatening her group with a knife.

Frustrated
Frustrated

Schnarfel, I'm not even sure how to respond. My family and I go to concerts and festivals monthly. I can handle it. The problem is that other people can't. Why should I have to have my day ruined and $168 wasted because some idiots can't handle their liquor and their tempers. I come from a police family but the officers there yesterday were standing in groups laughing at what was going on. I saw a kid get his beat up and kicked hard as hell in the face. My 13 y.o. And 11 y.o. kids saw it too as we were wandering aimlessly through the parking area off of Pines because we couldn't find or way to the concert area since there were no signs. Fortunately, I've got really good kids and I made it an example of what not to do when they are older. My husband tried to help the boy but ended up fearing for his safety and we had to leave. I looked for help but found none. Opening the park for tailgating at 11 am was really stupid. These schmucks drank and did drugs for 12 hours before coming in to the concert. Thee only good think is that some had passed out and couldn't harass anyone.

Kelly
Kelly

What moron would bring children to an event that is going to be packed full of drunk rednecks, especially one that offers no assigned seats?! You must be an idiot to think it would be a kid friendly place. Leave the walking abortions at home or better yet stay home with your lil bastards!

I <3 Kelly
I <3 Kelly

I can definitely tell  how "happy" you are by your delightful comments. And a very sincere "Thank You" for not having any loser children - the thought of you procreating and passing on those vile genes is scary. How am I fooling myself into trying to feel young? My family and I enjoy concerts, music festivals and all kinds of other events. I'm sorry that your parents didn't take you places. You apparently are lacking something really big in your life to feel it necessary to comment on a topic that seems to have nothing to do with you, does not interest you at all only to attack others. Do you need a hug? (Did you notice?  I changed my name for you)

kelly
kelly

No my life is amazing and I am extremely happy, since I don't have any loser children and im not trying to fool myself into trying to feel young by dragging kids to a non--friendly kid event! Im not a drunk redneck..you see, common sense is something I am not lacking in so I knew better than to go to this "concert."

Frustrated
Frustrated

Hey Kelly, are you one of those"drunk rednecks"? Oh, I'm sorry, I don't want to insult them like that. Do you write these things for the shock value? I saw you called sometimes kids walking abortions and bastards. Sorry your life sucks so bad. Apparently your Superstar parents raised a real winner.

Andy
Andy

Yet again, this comment would make perfect sense...If this event WASN'T advertised as a family friendly all ages event! 

kelly
kelly

You should never have had children moron bc if you are so stupid to think a place full of drunk rednecks is going to be ok for kids maybe you shoulda opted out 13 and 11yrs ago. Your kids were a mistake and so are you!

kelly
kelly

They can advertise it however but isnt there any common sense in anyones heads to tell them that its going to appeal to a bunch of loser rednecks who are going to get DRUNK?!

Andy
Andy

Then why was it advertised as an all ages family event?

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