With Sunday marking the last day of the Country Crossings Music Festival, fans said the event improved along the way as organizers tackled many of the glitches that arose from staging the massive four-day concert at The Expo for the first time.
"We understand this is their first year. They had to get the hiccups out. Overall, it's been a nice concert," said Arizona resident Kim Morgan, who came with his wife, Anne Morgan, to the festival outside Central Point.
The couple sat on lawn chairs shaded by umbrellas as they waited for the country music duo Dan + Shay to take to the outdoor Main Stage on Sunday afternoon.
While the festival started on Thursday, the Morgans' first day at Country Crossings was on Friday. They avoided hours-long waits for shuttle bus rides that plagued Thursday night's crowds. The couple also had a handicapped parking permit for Friday night.
But Kim Morgan said the handicapped parking was still too far away from the stages for his wife, who has a bad hip, to walk without pain. He said a worker driving a golf cart was nice enough to give them a ride. For the future, he suggested organizers find a way to ferry handicapped guests closer to the three stages.
Kim Morgan said the beverage line was so long Friday night that he missed an hour of country singer Luke Bryan's performance. He suggested having beverage sales closer to the Main Stage so people waiting in line could still hear the music.
For Sunday night, the Morgans said handicapped parking passes ran out, so they parked in the general admission parking area in White City and took a shuttle bus to The Expo grounds.
The couple were largely unfazed by the Rogue Valley heat, which climbed into the high 90s on Sunday.
"We're used to the heat," Anne Morgan said. "It's more humid air than in Arizona. But it's summertime. It's going to be hot."
Many fans hid out during music breaks in their RVs, hotel rooms or inside buildings on The Expo grounds.
Jasmine and Shane Dolney of Nevada beat the heat by listening to musicians on the indoor Boxcar Stage on Sunday afternoon. They stayed in a Medford hotel at night.
"We've been here four days, and it's amazing," Jasmine Dolney said. "We've been doing Facebook live streaming and showing everybody what it's like here. We're coming next year — but next year we're gonna bring a bunch of people."
Shane Dolney agreed, saying, "It's been a really good experience. It's really awesome."
The first night of the festival, the couple said the waits were too long for shuttle bus rides.
"After that, they got everything together," Shane Dolney said.
Elizabeth Nalder of Cave Junction said she also was affected by the long shuttle bus lines Thursday night. She tried to leave the festival at about 10 p.m. and didn't get back to her camping site at Valley of the Rogue State Park south of Grants Pass until about 1 a.m.
She attended the music festival in Cape Blanco, where it was staged before outgrowing that site on the Oregon Coast and shifting to Jackson County this year.
"Cape Blanco was a little more organized, and the weather is a lot cooler over there. The heat makes it miserable for everyone here," Nalder said. "But it's been better than I thought it would be."
Nalder said she thinks she will return next year, but hopes the site will be designed in a more open, less crowded way.
Chris Soles of Central Point and Linda Higgins of Eagle Point took a break between musical acts on a tree-shaded section of lawn.
"We discovered this, and it's so nice," Higgins said of the shady sanctuary.
Soles said they had had no issues with the performances, but there were a few bugs with the venue. Still, they took most of the issues in stride during the four days they attended.
"We read there were a lot of negative Facebook comments after the first night, but give them a break," Higgins said. "This is their first time here."
The two, who had VIP tickets, said they had good seats and didn't have any problems with drink lines.
Higgins said since alcohol was served at the festival, she was surprised not to see any fights or disorderly behavior.
"As that country song goes, 'Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off,'" Higgins said, referencing the title of a Joe Nichols tune about a woman who loses her shoes, an earring, her jacket, a contact lens and her pantyhose when drinking.
Soles said they had an overall good experience at the festival.
"We've already bought tickets for next year," he said.
Reach staff reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her at www.twitter.com/VickieAldous.