Although the performance began almost an hour late, the crowd was kept entertained by Electric 94.9’s morning host Izzy, who engaged in some good-natured ribbing of the audience.
“How are you doing over there?” he called to a group of concertgoers to the side of the stage.
“We’re wet!” answered a woman.
The observation was met with a cheerful, “Thanks, detective!”
At almost 1 p.m., The Vamps rushed onstage.The band performed three songs in a short acoustic concert, which was delayed by constant rain. One song was “Somebody to You,” a 2014 love anthem featuring American singer Demi Lovato.
“And … she’s here with us today!” said lead singer Brad Simpson to the crowd. “Just kidding.”
Since Demi herself was not available, the band asked the crowd to fill in.
“Everybody's trying to be a billionaire
“But every time I look at you I just don't care
“Cause all I wanna be, yeah all I ever wanna be, yeah, yeah
“Is somebody to you!” sang The Vamps.
The crowd answered: “I used to run around
“I didn’t wanna settle down
“But now I wake each day
“Looking for a way that I can see your face!”
The Vamps, whose popularity has grown exponentially since 2014, have been called the “hardest working young band in Britain.” They’re working pretty hard here in America, too. They aren’t technically touring, but they’ve made stops this month in American cities from New York to Birmingham to Kingsport. While Kingsport might have been their rainiest stop, its residents more than made up for the weather with un-dampened spirits.
Just like the crowd, the event’s organizers were unfazed by the rain.
Kari Matheney, the aquatic center’s director, was excited to help host the event and bring some summer fun to the area. “The weather could’ve cooperated better, but everyone’s in bathing suits anyway!” she laughed.
Bathing suits were indeed the outfits of choice, but some well-prepared attendees accessorised with umbrellas.
Jason Reed of Electric 94.9 said that the station’s first-ever Summer Splash came together perfectly. In fact, the event originated in a happy coincidence. “The Vamps were coming through the area. It all came together because we found just the perfect location.”
The station hopes to bring Summer Splash back to Kingsport next year, should another performer be available. After all, the event made a splash.
Even with the rain, the Aquatic Center was an ideal summer venue for the concert. Attendees swam in the nearby pools, relaxed under dripping umbrellas, or stood and cheered in front of the temporary stage. No fancy lights or props were necessary; Bays Mountain formed a fantastical, misty backdrop for the performance.
Just as the rain began to slow, the concert ended. The members waved goodbye to the cheering crowd and hopped down from the stage.
“We’ll see you all on the Lazy River,” said Simpson, grinning.