Smalltown roots headlines Backcountry Festival

Jakota Wass performs at the Aug. 4, 2023, Bently Concert in the Park.

Jakota Wass performs at the Aug. 4, 2023, Bently Concert in the Park.
Photo by Ron Harpin.

Local and Nashville talents including Jakota Wass and mutli-platinum country sensation Justin Moore headline the second Back Country Festival May 31 to June 2 at Corley Ranch.

The three day festival was founded by Gardnerville resident Ryan Kronenberg in 2023 to provide a variety of artists with a venue to showcase their talent, while providing the audience with an unforgettable “backcountry” experience.

Wass is a Carson Valley resident and local celebrity known for his country western influence and has performed at venues all around Northern Nevada and Lake Tahoe, including Night in the Country in Yerington and at the inaugural Backcountry Festival in 2023. 

He said he is looking forward to returning to the festival and performing on stage alongside other local and big time artists.

“It’s a great event and it means a lot to be a part of the lineup again,” he said. “It’s going to be a great time. I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone and sharing some songs from my new album.”

Wass’ new album is self-titled “Jakota Wass EP.” It releases Sunday and includes six new original songs.

“It was recorded in Reno and there’s a mix of other artists featured throughout,” said Wass.

Inspiration from growing up in the Carson Valley makes it into many of his albums like “Battle Born,” which highlights sunsets over Jobs Peak, Katie’s after a football game, and cup of Coffee on Main. “Battle Born” was released in 2022 and is available on all music platforms as will be “Jakota Wass EP.”

Wass recently graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno, with a degree in business, which he achieved in three years, so he can travel and perform as often as he can.

“A huge thank-you to all the people in the Carson Valley,” he said. “I would not be where I am without all the support and backing my career. It’s been a big help and I can’t wait to share all my new songs.”

Wass said in addition to performing Friday during the festival, he will be performing around the campsites and presenting QR codes for entrance in a giveaway.

Saturday’s headliner Moore experienced similar roots as Wass in Arkansas, and like many country artist draws from real-life influence, like in “Small Town, USA.”

“I think it’s a songwriter in particular as an artist,” he said. “You draw from your personal life, in ‘Small Town, USA’ for example, if it’s personal to you, it’s probably personal to a lot of other people.”

Moore said he wrote “Small Town, USA” when he left Arkansas for Nashville at 18 years old to get out of the small town scene and make something of himself.

“I wrote the song really because I was homesick,” he said. “I was sitting in a 700-square foot apartment thinking ‘what the heck am I doing,’ and sat down and wrote about missing home. All the small things I experienced and remembered, like going to church where I grew up, having dinner at my grandma’s house, all that stuff.”

 Since then, Moore has notched a successful decade plus career hitting his 12th No. 1 with “You, Me, and Whiskey,” a duet with Priscilla Block, and earning multiple nominations for the ACM, ACA, People’s Choice, and ACC awards nominations, including an ACM Award in 2014.

Moore is no stranger to Northern Nevada, having spent time in Yerington with a friend and performing throughout the area.

“It’s a great area and very family orientated,” he said. “I love coming out that way.”

During the Backcountry Festival Moore will perform some hits including “We Didn’t Have Much,” “Why We Drink,” “Bait a Hook,” his new song “This is my Dirt,” and more.

In addition to Moore and Wass, performances by more than 20 other artists including Friday and Sunday headliners Brett Cobb and Charles Wesley Godwin, Nevada 445, Ashley Monroe, Everyday Outlaw, Good Luck Thrift Store, The Cadillac Three, Lauren Watkins, and more will entertain during the festival.

Visit for the full line, more information and tickets.


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