MORRISTOWN - Booming thunder couldn't drown out the country music blasting from the Jamboree In The Hills stage Thursday, and the accompanying lightning didn't frighten the crowd away as the event kicked off its 36th year.
Dark clouds engulfed the area just after opening act The Stickers left the stage. The ominous haze stuck around during sets by The Cadillac Three and Will Hoge, but no rain fell on the venue.
By the time crowd favorite Chris Young hit the stage at 6:30 p.m., the clouds had given way to sun and summer heat. Thursday night's headliners Dwight Yoakam and Miranda Lambert kept the energy level high to close out the evening.
Photo by J.W. Johnson Jr.
John Wodarek of The Stickers performs Thursday at Jamboree In The Hills.
Thursday's festivities got under way just after 3 p.m. with opening ceremonies. The venue was nearly filled when Young took the stage mid-evening, though no major incidents had been reported to sheriff's deputies who were patrolling the site.
The heat is expected to continue today with a risk of scattered showers and storms.
Officials also anticipate a near capacity crowd as chart toppers Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan take the stage this evening.