‘I’ve never felt so safe’

Fans who trav­elled from Ire­land and New­found­land weigh in on their ex­pe­ri­ence at Cavendish Beach Mu­sic Fes­ti­val

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND - BY MAU­REEN COUL­TER mau­reen.coul­ter@the­guardian.pe.ca Twit­ter.com/Mau­reenEl­izaC

Sad­hbh Ni Chaomhà­naigh trav­elled all the way from Dublin, Ire­land, to at­tend the Cavendish Beach Mu­sic Fes­ti­val (CBMF) over the week­end.

Chaomhà­naigh is a huge coun­try mu­sic fan and was rocking a Broth­ers Os­borne shirt as she made her way through the crowd at the fes­ti­val Sun­day.

“I saw (Broth­ers Os­borne) in Nashville last year and I was hooked,” said Chaomhà­naigh in an in­ter­view with The Guardian.

She en­joyed the per­for­mances of Lit­tle Big Town, Kip Moore and Billy Ray Cyrus, but admits that the Sun­day lineup in­clud­ing Broth­ers Os­borne and Zac Brown Band was the rea­son she came.

“They have noth­ing like this where I live,” said Chaomhà­naigh.

She said the CBMF was every­thing she hoped it would be and more.

“I’ve never felt so safe at a fes­ti­val in my life,” said Chaomhà­naigh. “I’ve been to many fes­ti­vals and this one is just so well or­ga­nized.”

She is al­ready plan­ning to come back to cel­e­brate CBMF in 2018, the 10th year for the fes­ti­val.

Justin Par­sons and Laura Wills from Par­adise, New­found­land, also came a dis­tance to at­tend the CBMF.

“It’s been awe­some and the weather has been amaz­ing,” said Wills.

Par­sons added, “We were al­ready talk­ing about com­ing back next year.”

The cou­ple loves their coun­try mu­sic, but ad­mit they were there to see Zac Brown Band.

“Zac Brown Band is the one that made us buy the tick­ets and come all this way,” said Par­sons. “Every­thing else was a bonus.”

Par­sons and Wills also had great things to say about how well the fes­ti­val was or­ga­nized.

“Every­thing was a breeze,” said Par­sons.

Jeff Squires, pres­i­dent of White­cap En­ter­tain­ment, which pro­duces the fes­ti­val, said it was a “tremen­dous week­end.”

Squires said they es­ti­mate be­tween 17,000 and 23,000 peo­ple at­tended each night.

“Our ser­vice providers, right from the RCMP to the Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion to emer­gency ser­vices to the mu­nic­i­pal­ity … did a tremen­dous job of putting on an un­be­liev­able tourism prod­uct.”

Sgt. Leanne But­ler with Queens Dis­trict RCMP said every­thing went quite smoothly.

But­ler said oper­a­tional and traf­fic plans have evolved to the point that the RCMP used the same traf­fic plan as last year be­cause it worked so well.

“All the park­ing lots were empty by mid­night and we are very happy to re­port we did not have very many im­paired drivers.”

Squires said he chat­ted with count­less con­cert­go­ers who praised their ex­pe­ri­ence on P.E.I.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever had more com­ments from peo­ple that have not been to P.E.I. that have come to this fes­ti­val that are say­ing what an un­be­liev­able ex­pe­ri­ence they’ve had from the mo­ment they came to this Is­land.”

Squires said the fes­ti­val has be­come a big part of the an­nual tourism sched­ule.

MAU­REEN COUL­TER/THE GUARDIAN

Sad­hbh Ni Chaomhà­naigh of Dublin, Ire­land, was thrilled to be at the Cavendish Beach Mu­sic Fes­ti­val to see to one of her favourite bands, Broth­ers Os­borne, per­form Sun­day night.

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