At a Friday ceremony at the Early Consolidated Business Complex, the Early Convention & Visitors Bureau announced that country musician Wade Bowen will headline the 2017 Early Pioneer Days Festival.   

The festival is scheduled for Sept. 14 through 16 and will feature a carnival, vendors, a food plaza, a barbecue cook-off, a 5K, a baseball and softball tournament, a fireworks show and a concert. Local bands 10 Mile Crossing and Boone Cook & The Remains will open for Bowen.   

Early tourism director Denise Hudson made the big announcement during a lunchtime reception at the Chamber. She said the city is still looking for sponsors for some festival events, like the concert stage and the fireworks show. “As you know, we could not do this event without sponsorships,” Hudson said. She said visitors can also expect some “neat” and “different” food vendors and activities.   

David Gist of 10 Mile Crossing and Bobby Brinson of Boone Cook & The Remains were present at the ceremony. Both local bands have been entertaining Big Country crowds for years, but have taken time off recently.    

“Life happened,” Brinson said. “We just started getting caught up with our families and marriages and kids. It will be great to get back out there, especially for a local crowd.”   

Both men have attended Pioneer Days before — Gist, after all, is the City of Early’s Parks and Recreation Director. “We’re excited to be a part of this,” he said.   

According to his biography, Bowen launched his music career in Lubbock and has been touring for 14 years. “The sound is one hundred percent country,” the bio says, “but it’s also music the could easily find a home with fans of Bowen’s rock idols — folks like Bruce Springsteen and Jackson Browne.   

“On the live circuit,” it reads, “the overwhelming mandate is to stir up a party.”   

Tickets for the Pioneer Days concerts will go on sale on Aug. 1. The city is promoting the festival on social media with #EarlyPioneerDays2017.