Justin Moore is throwing a party at Waterfront Park this weekend, and everyone’s invited.
The award-winning country singer - Academy of Country Music’s “new artist of the year” in 2014 - is headlining San Diego’s first-ever Coastal Country Jam, a daylong festival that will be held Saturday, April 8, at the county park on Pacific Coast Highway.
Scheduled from noon to 9 p.m., the 21-and-up event has a lineup that will include High Valley, Jordan Rager, Stephen Wesley and Daniel Bonte. It’s the latest festival to use the public space for musical events, the largest being the popular CRSSD Festival, a two-day house and techno music marathon that’s been held there five times.
We recently caught up with the 33-year-old, Arkansas-born singer, whose 2016 “Kinda Don’t Care” album has yielded many hits, including the No. 1 single “You Look Like I Need a Drink.”
What can people expect at your upcoming concert here in San Diego?
A party! We try to make it obvious we are having fun on stage.
How different are these kinds of concerts versus the big arena-stadium type of concerts you’ve done before with others?
I’ve always said that I’m an artist that enjoys diversity in the venues we play every year. I feel the same comfort level playing in front of 500 people or 80,000. They all deserve me giving them 110 percent. That’s what we give them.
Where do you get your energy when you’re up there rockin’ the stage every night - the audience?
It’s, without a doubt, the crowd. It’s no secret, we have the most kickass job on earth. That’s because of the fans. Their passion for country music is unmatched. It’s not taken for granted, ever.
Coastal Country Jam 2017
When: Noon-9 p.m. Saturday, April 8
Where: Waterfront Park, 1600 Pacific Coast Highway, San Diego
Tickets: $55 general admission, $100 VIP ($15 locker rental)
How important is that to you - making the audience connection?
It’s vital to a show. Every show. We always say we have an “audience participation” type of show. If they give us what they have, we give them that and more.
Do you have any pre-concert rituals or prayers you do to get your prepped before you go on stage?
It should be prayers, but more typical is shots and Bocephus (nickname for Hank Williams Jr.) cranked!
How about nerves - you still get nervous?
Never. It’s the best part of the day.
Do you remember the first time you performed on stage? What was that like?
I played four songs on New Year’s Eve in Hot Springs, Ark., at a variety show. I was nervous as s---. But that’s when I fell in love with a crowd of country music fans. Hasn’t changed since.
How do you keep yourself grounded and focused on the music instead of being wrapped up in the business side of music?
Because I love making music. But I love God and my family more. Also, I think I’m much more than a musician. I’m hopeful - I have more to offer this world than just music.
What was your last download on iTunes?
Norah Jones’ second album. She’s a badass.
What was the last song you listened to?
“All My Rowdy Friends (Have Settled Down),” by Hank Jr.