CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
BaseFEST – an annual, public Independence Day celebration hosted by Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune – drew in about 28,000 people comprised of guests, service members and their families, July 4.
The festival, sponsored by USAA, included food, activities and a concert with country headliner, Cole Swindell, along with performances by Ha Ha Tonka, Carlton Zeus, Lindsay Ell and Tyler Farr.
Before the show, both Ell and Farr had the opportunity to tour some of the base organizations.
Farr donned a protective suit and was tackled by a Military Working Dog during a mock takedown demonstration as part of his tour of the base’s MWD kennel.
“Thank you Camp Lejeune for having me,” said Farr. “I won’t forget this Fourth of July, I promise you that!”
Ell toured Wounded Warrior Battalion-East and marveled at the many types of therapy and resources that are available to the Marines and Sailors of WWBn-E.
“It’s incredible,” said Ell. “The gym, the rock wall, the anti-gravity treadmill – which is pretty much one of the coolest things I’ve seen in my life – to the pool and the treadmill that goes under water.”
Swindell has experience performing on military installations, but this is the first time he’s performed for the military on Independence Day.
“It’s one of the coolest crowds I’ve ever been in front of,” said Swindell. “I always make it a point in my show, no matter where I am, to thank them; but to be in front of (service members) and know the show is for them makes it even more special.
“It almost tears me up just thinking about it. I get to do what I do because of them and it didn’t take two seconds for me to say yes. Whatever it takes, whatever I’ve got to do, I’m going to be there because [service members] give up so much for us.”
After the performances, the crowd was treated to spectacular display of fireworks, rumored to be one of the best along the East Coast, ending the night with a patriotic bang.