FAIRLEA, WV (WVNS) – Country star Cody Johnson performed at the state fairgrounds on Friday, May 26. But what kind of work goes into making sure a show that big goes off without a hitch?

Country music fans across southern West Virginia have looked forward to Cody Johnson’s fairgrounds show for months.

With more than 8,000 tickets sold, it is one of the most-anticipated events of the year in the area.

State Fair of West Virginia CEO Kelly Collins says excitement is in the air, but a lot of work goes on behind the scenes.

“This is what we do. We plan events, we love to do it. But it is a lot of work. As soon as this show was canceled during the fair last year, we started planning,” Collins told 59News.

Collins said the most important aspect of planning when it comes to putting on a show for nearly 10,000 people is safety.

Local EMS and police work alongside the Greenbrier County Sheriff’s Department, West Virginia State Police and other first responders to ensure everyone at the concert stays safe.

Greenbrier County Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Mike Honaker told 59News providing security for a gathering with this many people in one place is a massive undertaking.

He said for events of this size, the department’s Mobile Operations Center becomes a command hub for all of the security and first responders working at the concert.

“Essentially what we’re doing is geo-fencing, which means we identify this area, the state fairgrounds, and we ensure that we receive all the 9-1-1 calls, as well as the radio traffic from just this event,” explained Honaker.

Honaker says before major events like a Cody Johnson concert, first responders work together to practice responses to situations like medical emergencies, or lost children.

He says they spend extra time preparing for potential mass shooting situations.

“No one is going to run. No one is going to hide. The people might, but our law enforcement officers will not. They have trained and they have prepared, and they are mentally ready to take on an event like that,” Honaker told 59News.

Honaker says his top priority is always safety, and although he and his team always hope for the best, they are always prepared for the worst.