Shakopee’s Canterbury Park filled with live music enthusiasts last weekend following a year-long hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite 90-degree weather, concertgoers gathered to cheer and sing along to artists over the course of the event, which ran July 22-24.

The Friday, July 23 lineup opened with “The Voice” season 15 runner-up Chris Kroeze, who performed several new songs that have not yet been recorded.

After receiving a guitar for his sixth birthday, Kroeze latched onto music and was playing at bars by age 13. A performance at his middle school talent show allowed him to expand his reach into singing.

The pandemic forced Kroeze to take a break from live performances for 18 months, but fueled his creativity in other ways. He recorded a record in Nashville and dabbled in video production while spending time with his wife and two kids.

Although his television experience granted Kroeze a lot of support, he said he prefers live shows and touring.

“I love running into people that saw me playing at the bars when I was 13 that are seeing me playing on festival stages now,” Kroeze said of local touring.

Shakopee resident Danielle Monnens, who attended the event with her twin sister, Montana, was also excited about the return to live music.

“(My favorite part of live music is) that we all can be out here and not have to worry about COVID, honestly,” she said. “That we all can celebrate and be at an actual concert.”

Wyoming’s Ian Munsick and his cowboy hat-clad band brought the Western atmosphere to the event after Kroeze’s set.

Blanco Brown, whose debut single “The Git Up” put him on the map, followed Munsick.

Brett Young took the stage wearing a shirt reading “Puppies & Country Songs” in addition to a hospital wristband, informing the audience that his second daughter arrived Thursday.

“Who’s excited for Carrie Underwood?” he asked before launching into a set covering several of his own songs in addition to a cover of Gavin DeGraw’s “Not Over You.”

Finally, Carrie Underwood took the stage at 9 p.m., garnering the largest crowd of the day as the sun set over Canterbury Park.

Saturday’s show featured Ashley McBryde and the Zac Brown Band. Lynyrd Skynyrd was Thursday’s headliner and performed after Kip Moore, 32 Below and Tim Montana.

Rachel Blood is a summer reporting intern. She likes writing about big differences in small towns, buying too many young adult novels and showing pictures of her dogs to anyone who does or does not want to see them.

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