Photos by Scott V Photography/

As I left my air conditioning in my car behind, I couldn’t help but mentally prepare myself for what I was about to witness at Common Ground. It was country music night and I had an idea of the fashion choices this night of the festival would bring.

I was born and raised in the Upper Peninsula so I am fully aware of what the “appropriate” attire is at a country music concert. I soon found that even in the Lower Peninsula city of Lansing, there is no exception.

Camo and cowboy boots galore. These staples were ever present at Common Ground, but the American flag-adorned clothing might have taken the day. Men, women and children were all wearing some form of the American flag, be it shorts, a bandana or tank top. The majority in attendance paired it with a straw cowboy hat and boots.

When it comes to people wearing stereotypical country attire, I’m not a stranger. I grew up on a farm and rode horses with my rodeo queen best friend. But I have to admit my own bias — I can’t see a reason for wearing boots that aren’t for riding or messing around on a farm.

That’s why the practical part of me started screaming (internally) when I saw someone walking around in camo Muck Boots. It seemed especially ironic that he was wearing them with shorts — it was too hot to wear jeans but big ol’ Muck Boots were his choice.

For those who don’t know, these heavy duty, rubber-reinforced — not to mention weighty — boots go up to your knees. I did however, admire his ability to stand the oppressive heat in those things.

I do want to address this right here and now, I respect country music. I don’t think there is anything wrong if you like listening to the genre. I mean, I grew up on it, Shania Twain is still my all-time favorite country singer and I can still sing every word to “Man! I Feel Like a Woman”. However, I do think there’s a way to show appreciation that is practical and inoffensive. For instance, I just can’t get down with someone wearing a shirt made completely out of material resembling the confederate flag.

Now, since that elephant left the room, I can address the highlight of the day. My favorite act of the night, Aileeah Colgan, was phenomenal. The singer and entertainer visibly stole the show — most people who heard her perform congregated in front of the Auto Value Main Stage where she performed. Her voice grabbed the crowd’s attention, and made me almost forget the worst of the fashion faux pas.