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Wildwood, New Jersey, officials prepare for Barefoot Country Music Festival after chaotic start to summer

Thousands expected in Wildwood for Barefoot Country Music Festival's fourth year
Thousands expected in Wildwood for Barefoot Country Music Festival's fourth year 01:55

WILDWOOD, N.J. (CBS) — Thousands of people will flock to Wildwood over the next four days to see some of country music's biggest stars. The Barefoot Country Music Festival is returning to the Jersey Shore for the fourth year. 

Organizers say this will be their biggest year yet, having sold out for the first time. The festival runs from Thursday through Sunday.

Organizers expect about 35,000 people a day, co-founder Bob Durkin said.

Some of the biggest names in country music will grace the beachside stage, including Luke Bryan, Kane Brown and Keith Urban. But fans say there are plenty of other acts they can't wait to see, such as Old Dominion, Bailey Zimmerman and Nate Smith.

But the major event comes on the heels of a chaotic start to summer for Wildwood officials. Over Memorial Day weekend, officials declared a state of emergency and shut down the boardwalk for a few hours due to rowdy teenagers. Last week, the city passed a ban on backpacks on the boardwalk from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m.

City leaders say they're moving forward from that and are fully prepared to keep everyone safe.

"We have multiple resources out here. There's gonna be [security] from different venues, different areas that are going to be down here. They're all packed up, they know their jobs," said Steve Mikulski, the Commissioner for Public Safety in Wildwood.

Thousands head to Wildwood for country music festival and a break from the heat 01:38

Organizers agree.

"They brought us up to speed on that. Seems like they've had a good plan, seems like things have been working since then. So we're just gonna have our security help [with] that as well," Durkin said.

Mikulski said one thing he believes makes this weekend different is the crowd that will be coming to the shore. 

"This is more family-oriented. Lot of families coming down here. They're not looking to be rowdy, they're looking to have a good time," Mikulski said.

Festival-goers say they're aware of what happened over Memorial Day weekend, but that they're not too worried about any issues. They're just looking forward to a fun weekend filled with country hits.

"I ain't worried about none of that," said Bob Taylor, who is attending his third Barefoot Country Music Festival. "Law enforcement's got a handle on it."

Dan Ellis said he felt "100% safe" Thursday evening. "They are doing a great job ... Everything is set up nice and definitely feel good," he said.

"A lot of law enforcement around keeping everyone safe and checking everyone's IDs," Karl Giulian, of Stone Harbor, said. "I feel really protected."

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