After wind delays, BonfireJam resumes with Josh Thompson on the big stage. / Julio Diaz/GoPensacola.com
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When severe weather moved onto Pensacola Beach tonight, BonfireJam organizers pulled the plug on the country music concert before headliner Ronnie Dunn could perform. Bonfire founder Joe Lewis said he was hoping to get Dunn in, but the lightning posed too much of a threat.
The concert was cut short toward the end of Craig Morgan's set, which was peppered with lightning strikes.
Morgan came on stage right after comedian Larry the Cable Guy made a surprise stop to wave at the crowd at BonfireJam. Morgan's mixture of radio-friendly contemporary country and hard-edged honky-tonk had many of the concertgoers dancing in the sand.
Earlier in the day, Sunny Sweeney kicked things off for the country music concert, but high winds cut Brett Eldredge's set short and led to an hour-long delay.
During the time out, organizers took precautionary measures -- securing lighting rig and the roof of the stage.
BonfireJam organizers had been keeping an eye on the schedule and the weather all day, and severe weather alerts were popping up increasingly toward the end of the evening.
The wind stopped the show temporarily but didn't cause any damage.
"It's the beach. It's windy here all the time," said Buck Lee, director of the Santa Rosa Island Authority.
Today's country music shows kicked off a little after noon with a free concert at the Portofino Boardwalk. Neo-country outlaw Josh Thompson wandered onto stage under cloudy skies, shuffling along with the day's first beer in hand, his Milwaukee's Best truckers' hat turned backward.
It was a free acoustic country performance to drum up energy for the big paid show that was scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m., with opening act Sunny Sweeney. The five-act bill was headlined by Ronnie Dunn.
Thompson opened with a slow, burnin' version of his outlaw identifying "Blame It On Rio'' in front of about 100 people.
Gray clouds offered no early rain, but did block much of the sun, making the beach a bit less heated than expected.
When severe weather moved onto Pensacola Beach tonight, BonfireJam organizers pulled the plug on the country music concert before headliner Ronnie Dunn could perform.
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