Cfest throwback a success

Published on Tuesday, 02 July 2024 09:40

It’s been 35 years since the first Dauphin’s Countryfest and this year’s edition featured a celebration of 1990s country music.

With a lineup featuring some of country music’s best artists of that decade, Canada’s longest running outdoor country music festival proved to be a hit.

Countryfest president Duane McMaster said the weekend was fabulous

“We had the rain on Friday, but, in spite of the rain, we had a great crowd Friday night. They all came out,” he said, adding the crowd was even larger on Saturday.

Walkup ticket sales, McMaster said, went well over the weekend, with a lot of campers filling the campgrounds.

“I really don’t have anything bad to say about the weekend,” he said.

Friday’s crowd, McMaster said, proves that Countryfest fans are a hardy group.

“I remember a few years ago when Florida Georgia Line was playing, everybody in the audience was out there with rain slickers. It was pouring rain and those stands were packed and everybody was singing along and having a great time, the weather-be-darned,” he said.

McMaster had a chance to speak to some veteran Countryfest patrons and past directors who spoke about the changes to the venue since the early years.

“You look back at some of the pictures of what the ampitheater was and what the site was in 1990 and 1991 when Countryfest first started, and it’s a pretty amazing change to now. The roof on the stage, the extra bleachers and the up-top area is paved. It’s fantastic,” he said.

McMaster was surprised at the number of people attending Countryfest for the first time, noting a lot of those first timers were longtime patrons of the Country Thunder festival in Craven, Sask.

“They’re coming over here this year, because they liked our lineup better. And I’m hoping that our facility will sell them on how great Countryfest is compared to Craven. From everyone I’ve talked to, the viewing experience here is so much better than it is out in Craven. The ampitheater is so fantastic here,” he said.

Saturday’s crowd, McMaster said, was larger than the crowd that took in last year’s Sunday headliner John Fogerty.

“I was really impressed with the amount of day passes we had for John Fogerty, last year. (Saturday) night, we actually outsold that with Alabama. I was really surprised at that,” he said.

The local support, McMaster said, has been fantastic, with great sponsors and volunteers.

Read more in this week’s Dauphin Herald.

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