NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The Patriotic Festival kicked off Friday afternoon after a two-year, pandemic-induced hiatus. But this time, the festival is in a new location: Downtown Norfolk.

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The opening ceremony and two early shows were canceled due to rain.

Friday’s Jon Pardi concert, however, still took place at the Norfolk Scope as previously planned.

The possibility of rain was one of several reasons the annual festival moved to Norfolk, according to board member Glen Robertson.

“In the past, the Scope has been sort of a reserve bad weather venue, but you would have to set everything up in two different places miles apart, so this is a much better situation,” he said.

Another reason? The board felt it important to hold the event on Memorial Day weekend.

“You can’t do that at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront because it’s a holiday weekend,” Robertson said.

Several other factors were also at play.

“Part of it was the idea of a street festival,” Robertson added. “This is something that hasn’t been done, it’s exciting. Also, Norfolk is home to the world’s largest naval base.”

Country music fans 10 On Your Side spoke with told said they were just glad to be enjoying a summer kick-off concert for the first time in two years.

“It’s just so much better, life is like actually becoming normal again,” said Rylee Gibson who was attending the Pardi concert.