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Rib Round Up artist from Parkland performing on big stage for first time

Posted at 10:09 AM, Feb 26, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-26 10:09:27-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The annual country music festival, the Rib Round Up, is back this Saturday at the iThink Financial Amphitheater.

It's a day of smoked ribs and three stages of live music, from country music's A-listers to artists who are up and coming.

WPTV journalist T.A. Walker went to talk to Tim Leary and Chelsea Taylor at New Country 103.1 as they were giving away tickets to the Rib Round Up.

"You're caller 10! You're going to Rib Round Up," Leary screamed.

"Yes, I'm so excited," said the caller with less enthusiasm for someone who just one $124 in tickets.

"We are talking Lainey Wilson, Rodney Atkins Nate Smith, Warren Zeiders, Ashley Cooke," Leary said.

Country music star Ashley Cooke became a country music fan when she went to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland as a teen.

"I went to Douglas for my freshman year and play volleyball there and I have so many memories of Rib Round Up and honestly all my friends would meet up," said Cooke.

Ashley would come to the very back of the lawn to see acts at the Rib Round Up like Dan and Shay and Luke Bryan. A long, long way to the main stage.

"This year's Rib Round Up is going to be amazing," said Leary on the radio.

"It is going to be so good. I mean, it's all day. It is three stages," Taylor said.

"Ashley Cooke, she is such an amazing--I can't say local artists anymore because now she is a Nashville national artist," said Taylor.

"We're in number 21 on the country radio chart, which is huge. We're almost in top 20," Cooke said.

Last year she played the Guitar Pull at the Rib Round Up, inching closer to that main stage.

"You know, they're going to be huge if they've made the Guitar Pull Stage," Leary said.

"I got to play in the parking lot last year and that was already a big deal to me," Cooke said.

But now she is playing big stages all over the world. Last week, one of her stops was in Scotland.

"We've been on a European tour with Jordan Davis, the whole past month. Copenhagen and Stockholm and Switzerland. And I've experienced so many cool new cultures and cities and it's been a really, really good time," said Cooke.

And now she gets to play her hometown main stage for the first time.

"That stage is deceivingly bigger than you would think. Actually, when you walk out you're like, 'Oh my gosh,'" Taylor noted.

"It's gonna’ feel weird. I won't lie," Cooke admitted.

Instead of watching from the lawn, she will be on the main stage singing to her fans on the lawn.

"But I'm really fortunate that I've gotten to pursue a career where I'm able to come back to my hometown and kind of like, pay tribute to the reason why I fell in love of country music and in the place where I fell in love with country music," Cooke said.

For her to be out on the road with a single climbing up the charts is this is everything that you could possibly dream for," Leary noted.

"It's just like a full circle moment. It's very, very cool," said Taylor.

"I'm sure there's gonna’ be a lot of people that I like haven't kept in touch with that are in the crowd or ex boyfriends or whatever, but I'm gonna’ see you there and be like, 'What's up?,'" giggled Cooke.

"I think she's gonna’ get hit with feels pretty hard, honestly," Taylor joked.

"It’s going to be a weird, weird thing. But I’m excited. And it feels like momentum in my career," Cooke pondered.

Chayce Beckham is also taking the main stage. He has a single right now on the top ten in the country music charts.

The Rib Round Up really kicking off concert season here at the iThink Financial Amphitheater. On Saturday, gates open at noon. Tickets start at around $60.