In many ways, the Wheatland Music Festival is about Mother Nature, and she blessed this year’s event with near-perfect weather.
A bit of rain on Friday didn’t stop music lovers from enjoying the festival, and they came in droves, even though nobody had any idea that “Thor” actor Tom Hiddleston was going to take the stage.
Wheatland vice president Tom T. Ball recalled that last year’s festival would have been hard to beat in terms of weather, the lineup and the overall ambience.
“At the end last year, I thought, how are we ever going to top this?” Ball said Monday. “This year, if we didn’t, we came close.”
Beautiful weather combined with a lineup that Ball and others on the Wheatland Board of Directors were sure would please guests did just that, and all of the long winter days preparing for this year’s event fell into place.
Thousands of people attended the annual festival Friday, Saturday and Sunday, camping and enjoying traditional music and arts at the 160-acre site.
Ball said after all the work the board put into this year’s festival, it’s great to see it come to fruition.
And as it turned out, Hiddleston’s appearance with country artist Rodney Crowell put the rural music organization and its festival in the national if not international entertainment spotlight.
Hiddleston, who acted in Joss Whedon’s “The Avengers,” Alan Taylor’s “Thor: The Dark World” and other films, performed Hank Williams’ “Move It on Over” and other songs Saturday night.
Crowell’s wife told Ball that he is mentoring Hiddleston in preparation for his portrayal of Hank Williams Sr. in an upcoming biopic, “I Saw the Light.”
During the festival, Crowell introduced Ball to Hiddleston as “his friend Tom.”
Ball talked about the upcoming film with Hiddleston during the festival.
Ball said Crowell is a natural role model for someone looking to learn about country music, having been in the business for 40 years or more.
Reports of Hiddleston’s “crashing” Wheatland were rampant Monday, with accounts Time, Rolling Stone Country, the New York Daily News, Billboard and other websites.
According to published reports, production for “I Saw the Light” begins in October in Louisiana, and Ball is confident the British-born Hiddleston will shine.
“He’s a pro; he’ll deliver,” Ball said, adding that it isn’t clear whether the actor will do the singing in the movie.
With or without Hiddleston, Wheatland was successful this year, with just a few small challenges arising, Ball said.
I couldn’t have imagined it going any better,” he said.