Naperville native Joe Hanson scheduled for Ribfest

Naperville native Joe Hanson scheduled as opening act for July 5 Ribfest lineup

The July 5 lineup of country artists at Ribfest 2019 will feature Naperville native Joe Hanson, a recent contestant on “American Idol.”

A Neuqua Valley High School graduate, Hanson, 20, will open for Randy Houser and headliner Brantley Gilbert on the Navistar Main Stage during the third day of the Exchange Club of Naperville’s “Last Nights at Knoch.” Tickets starting at $35 are on sale at ribfest.net.

“I don’t know if we’ve ever had a stronger lineup to celebrate country music at Ribfest,” event co-chairwoman Sandy Rocush said.

Hanson, who now lives in Nashville, Tennessee, is a product of Indian Prairie Unit District 204 and also attended North Central College in Naperville. With his brother and friend, he started a worship band at St. Raphael Catholic Church and then went on to form a band, Duality, to perform during church retreats and mission trips.

“I was raised on Ribfest,” Hanson said in a Ribfest news release. “I’ve been coming to Ribfest for 18 years, and it’s been my dream to play on the main stage.”

Early music influences for Hanson included Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts and Brad Paisley — country acts whose music his parents used to play in the car, he said. He now writes his own songs and draws from all genres, including pop and rock.

“There was something amazing about how an artist was able to tell an entire story in three minutes with just a few chords and lyrics,” Hanson said. “That was when I first fell in love with music and realized what amazing things it could do.”

Other Ribfest performers this year include Billy Idol with opening act Living Colour on July 3, and Flo Rida with a fireworks display on July 4. A July 6 headliner has not yet been announced.

The four-day Fourth of July celebration runs from noon to 10 p.m. at Knoch Park, 724 S. West St. This will be the last Ribfest held at the downtown Naperville location before organizers move the event elsewhere, possibly to Romeoville.