Country music hoedown goes off without a hitch
Seventh annual festival leaves little to be desired
A celebration featuring some of country music’s biggest stars set against a scenic backdrop of P.E.I.’s north shore went off without a hitch this weekend.
While the dust is still settling on the site of the seventh annual Cavendish Beach Music Festival, it’s clear the three-day extravaganza didn’t disappoint the legion of country music fans that flocked to the venue.
Festival president Jeff Squires said a combination of cooperative weather and fantastic crowds led to a beautiful weekend for the festival.
“You see the excitement on P.E.I. over the past week and going into next week. It’s just a great opportunity to bring people into P.E.I. and to showcase our wonderful province,” he said.
What followed was a weekend featuring some of country music’s most established acts, as well as promising up-and-comers and ambitious local musicians on three separate stages.
Headliners Eric Church, Keith Urban and Brantley Gilbert, as well as Rod Stewart’s concert last Thursday, brought in thousands to campsites, restaurants and other attractions in the area.
While there was no final number for attendance, Squires said every night of the festival saw consistently large crowds.
“In the earlier years a lot of people would come for one night, they’d pick and choose,” said Squires. “Now they’re coming for all three days.”
The long-running festival has also affected areas further out than Cavendish, with most campsites booked up months before the hoedown.
For Nova Scotia resident David Lade and his group of friends, renting a cottage in Stanhope and attending the festival was a summer highlight.
Donned in cowboy hats, Lade said the group wanted to come to the festival after attending last year’s event.
“Even with the storm (that cancelled one of last year’s concerts), we wanted to come back,” said Lade. “It’s well-run, well-organized, the acts are great and the people here are great.”
Great Big Sea frontman and solo performer Alan Doyle noted during his performance that the festival had many visitors from outside of Canada as well.
“It’s starting to feel like a kitchen party now,” said Doyle. “We’ve got people here from America, from Australia for god sakes... are we gonna show them how it’s done or what?”
The festival is now even a draw amongst non-country music listeners.
That was the case for Charlottetown couple Larry Hegarty and Judy Fraser.
“I’m not a big fan (of country music), I like it though,” said Hegarty. “”It’s just a great show and great event.” Fraser agreed. “You get to meet new people and see a lot of people,” she said. “It’s a great place and some of the performances were terrific.”
Kristian Bush yells to the crowd from the Lotto Max Main Stage of the Cavendish Beach Music Festival during his performance Saturday afternoon. Bush is well-known as one half of the country music duo Sugarland.