Orange County Speedway’s ‘Cruise-in Concerts’ bringing back a sense of normalcy, attendees say

Orange County News

ROUGEMONT, N.C. (WNCN) — Concerts are beginning to make a comeback in the Triangle, but the experience is much different.

Country musician Robert Earl Keen played in front of an audience parked in their cars at the Orange County Speedway Thursday night.

“Oh it’s great, glad to finally be out and be around folks listening to live music,” said Billy Tillman, who drove three and a half hours from Beaufort to see Keen’s show.

Instead of one large crowd, fans parked on the lawn next to the speedway and watched from designated pods outlined with spray paint.

“Something is better than nothing,” said Heather Tillman, who’s been a Keen fan for close to 30 years. “And I’m OK with this because I can still be with who I trust and know has been vaccinated and where they’ve been, where they haven’t been.”

While the setup and experience are different, Tillman still felt a sense of excitement of being at a concert hasn’t changed.

“You will see me jumping up and down, screaming and hollering, dancing, stomping, and the whole thing,” said Tillman.

Austin Rutledge brought his wife and two kids to Thursday’s concert. He says it was the first one he’s been to in about two years.

“For us, it’s some sense of normalcy,” he said. “Returning back, being outside and the weather is obviously improving so it’s again a nice time to enjoy some live music and it’s been a long time since we’ve done that.”

His wife Nicole added, “It does sort of give you that glimpse maybe that things will get back to the way they were, and maybe even in a better way.”

The Orange County Speedway will hold a series of cruise-in concerts over the next few months.

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