By Rick Kennedy, managing editor
The 3rd Annual Ark-La-Tex Outdoor Expo got a distinct regional flavor as it was announced and confirmed late Thursday that one of Prescott’s favorite daughters, Rachel Hale, will be returning to the area as the opening act for the previously announced Kentucky Headhunters at Hempstead Hall on March 1.
Hale will be the opening act at 6:30 p.m. that Friday, while the Kentucky Headhunters take the stage at 7:30 p.m.
Hale, a native of Prescott, had gained national acclaim as a Top-20 finisher on American Idol during season 12 with her performance of Grace Potter’s “Nothing But The Water.” Locally, she was also the 2009 winner of the Watermelon Idol.
Her last big public singing performance in the area, also at Hempstead Hall, was during the 41st Annual Watermelon Festival in 2017, where she opened for then-headliner Joe Diffie in a Saturday night show.
In that 2017 show, Hale was effortless and joyous in belting out a powerful set of songs, mostly contemporary Christian and Gospel selections, while telling about her life writing and recording songs in Nashville, Tennessee.
True to her Christian beliefs, Hale also led a Hempstead Hall sing-along of “Amazing Grace,” one of the big highlights of the night.
Over the years, Hale has also opened for the likes of Tracy Byrd, Joe Nichols, and Chris Cagle; she was also a featured performer alongside Brett Michaels, Justin Moore, Julie Roberts, and Frank Foster. She has shared the stage with legends such as Peter Frampton, Ricki Skaggs, Larry Stewart, Rachael Lampa, Mac Powell of Third Day, Jamie Grace, Ginny Owens, Drew Ramsey, Gordon Kennedy, and Matt Wertz.
Hale was a featured presenter at the 2014 Inspirational Country Music (ICM) Awards, and Karen Kingsbury, then a New York Times bestselling author, tapped Hale as lead actress for her book trailer “15 Minutes,” which still appears on YouTube at link:
Hale also made an national television appearance, cast as a background singer on ABC’s Nashville.
As fall 2017 approached, Hale said she planned on leaving Nashville for theology school in Redding, California, saying at the time, she wanted to continue in ministry and serve God.
“I am really excited for what the future holds and continuing to serve in ministry,” Hale said at the time.
Doors for the Expo concerts with Hale and the Kentucky Headhunters will open at 6:00 p.m., according to a statement from Amanda Lance, the new director at Hempstead Hall. Tickets are on sale now at hempsteadhall.com and range from $55 – $25.
With a GRAMMY Award, CMA Album of the Year Award, two CMA Vocal Group of the Year Awards, two Top 10 charting albums, and four consecutive Top 40 hits, the Kentucky Headhunters success spans multiple genres, and they are credited are credited for creating a unique blend of honky-tonk, blues, and southern rock that appeals to the toughest music critics and listeners of all kinds, according to their pre-concert promotion.
In other expo news, Lance’s statement Thursday also said “Admission to the Expo is $3 per person. The Expo will run 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. on Friday, March 1, and 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 2.”
This year’s Expo will also showcase a new feature, according to Lance. The Great Bowls of Fire Chili Cook Off will be presented by Lance & Associates Real Estate of Hope on Saturday, March 2, 2019 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Registration is $20 per submission. The winner will walk away with a $300 cash prize.
Cash prizes also available for the Runner Up and the People’s Choice. Tasting tickets will be available for sale at the door for $3 per person and will include admission to the Expo.
For any additional information about the 3rd Annual Ark-La-Tex Outdoor Expo, contact Lance at Amanda.firstname.lastname@example.org or (870) 722-8566.