Morgan Wallen Returns To Gibbs High School For Surprise Hometown Concert
Wallen teamed up with Spotify for the intimate pop-up event.
Morgan Wallen at Gibbs High School; Photo Courtesy of HAPPY MONDAY/Spotify
On the eve of the release of his highly anticipated new album, One Thing At A Time, Morgan Wallen returned to his alma mater, Gibbs High School, for a surprise pop up concert for members of the senior class, faculty, and baseball team.
The concert was a collaboration between Wallen and Spotify, who transformed the Gibbs High School baseball field into a concert venue for one night only. The surprise event was announced by Wallen himself earlier in the day during a seniors-only assembly in the high school auditorium.
Excitement penetrated the air as the stadium lights dimmed and the stage light up in colorful lights. With a smile on his face, Wallen emerged from side stage and took a seat at a piano and welcomed fans to the show.
“This is so cool man, I really appreciate y’all being here. There’s a lot of special people here for me tonight. I got my family. I got my little boy. I got people from [Gibbs High School]. I got Coach Davis. Thank you coach for letting me use the field. I guess I’m going to have to pay to get them a new one after this,” Wallen laughed.
He admitted that his return to Gibbs was emotional for him and went on to share his gratitude for the opportunity to return to the field he once played on.
“Man, there’s a lot of different emotions for me, you know, coming back. I graduated from here in 2011 [and] I love this place. I came back here today and just felt so many different feelings that I didn’t know I was going to feel,” he shared. “At one point me, my dad and my son were just out on the field and it just kind of make sense. I’m really proud to be here and I’m proud to be from here. I’ll always hold this place near and dear to my heart.”
Wallen then kicked off the show with a performance of his chart-topping hit “Sand In My Boots.”
The intimate concert event allowed fans to hear the first-ever live performances of several new tracks, including “Born With A Beer In My Hand,” “I Wrote The Book,” “Keith Whitley,” “Me + All Your Reasons,” “Dying Man,” “Whiskey Friends,” “Sunrise,” and “Last Night.”
In the midst of his hour-long set, Wallen welcomed Gibbs High School Principal, Jason Webster, to the stage and presented a $35,000 donation to the school on behalf of The Morgan Wallen Foundation.
“I started the Morgan Wallen Foundation about a year ago – It combines my love of sports and music. Without those two things I don’t know where I’d be, I don’t know what my life would look like. I know it would look a lot different, so that’s what I’m going to try to do – give back to those two areas, as well as communities in need. That’s our focus.” Wallen said.
“We wanted to say thank you tonight and help you out with a couple things, so we wrote a $35,000 check,” he continued. “It’s going to go towards instruments for the choral department, instruments for the band department and then for baseball – a new field cart – so we can help get this field back in shape after y’all trampled on it tonight.”
Wallen had fans singing along with performances of “You Proof,” “Chasing You,” and “The Way I Talk.” His performance of “Thought You Should Know,” which currently sits atop the Billboard Country Airplay Chart for the third consecutive week, was especially touching as his mom was in the crowd to witness the touching moment between him and his fans.
The emotional homecoming concert showcased Wallen’s love and appreciation for his roots and proved that despite his fame, he hasn’t forgotten where he came from.
In just a few short weeks, the superstar will embark on a massive headlining One Night At A Time World Tour, where he will visit 30 stadiums on the 63-show trek, but none will beat his performance at Gibbs High School’s Steve Hunley Field.
“I’m playing a lot of stadiums this year, but it’s gonna be hard to top this stadium right here.”
Lauren Jo Black
Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for Answers.com and her work being featured on Forbes.com. She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.