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Getting drenched in the rain part of Countryfest experience

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BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Campers fill the fields behind the stage. The festival expanded its camping area to 4,300 spaces this year.

DAUPHIN — A little rain — OK, a lot of rain — isn’t enough to dampen the spirits of 14,000 country music fans at the 25th annual Dauphin’s Countryfest.

On Saturday afternoon, rain was steadily falling, soaking the already soggy site. Friday night brought with it severe thunderstorm watches and unrelenting rain.

"I don’t remember a time when it rained through an entire evening of performers," Eric Irwin, president of Countryfest, said backstage. It didn’t matter; people geared up and got down to Blackjack Billy, Lee Brice and The Band Perry, who played through the rain.

Tonight’s forecast doesn’t look much better. Dauphin is currently under a rainfall warning. According to Environment Canada, thunderstorms are expected to roll in by the time Tim Hicks, Dallas Smith and Blake Shelton take the mainstage tonight, bringing with them 50 millimetres of rain. An additional 20 to 30 millimetres of rain is expected to fall on Sunday.

Countryfest goers are taking the wet weather in stride. "I love the rain," says a Brandonite named Dale. This is his eighth time at the festival. "It always rains at Countryfest. If it didn’t rain, it wouldn’t be the same."

Allison Boxshall and her friends were already camped out at the mainstage by 1 p.m. on Saturday with tarps and ponchos. "I’m here for the music," she says. And she’s hardcore.

The site’s 4,300 campsites have been deluged, although some sites are drier than others. Still, if there's a take home message, it's that a little mud never hurt no party.

Dauphin's Countryfest wraps up on Sunday with Rascal Flatts on the mainstage.

History

Updated on Saturday, June 28, 2014 at 5:24 PM CDT: Corrects typo.

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