It’ll be an all-Canadian lineup at Dauphin’s Countryfest that will ring in Canada Day and the return of the country’s longest-running country music festival.
Organizers announced plans for the July 1-3, 2022 event Tuesday morning and named its headliners, which include country crooners Paul Brandt, Johnny Reid, chart-toppers such as Dallas Smith, Dean Brody and Terri Clark and Manitoba artists Doc Walker and Don Amero.
The COVID-19 pandemic led to the cancellation of the 2020 and 2021 editions of Countryfest but organizers are setting up rules so the 2022 event will take place.
Firstly, Countryfest will limit attendance to 50 per cent capacity in an attempt to make fans feel safe, Ann Ransom, the festival’s president, says.
About 9,000 fans attended Countryfest in 2019, using around 3,500 campsites while about 1,500 volunteers were on hand for the event.
On its website, Countryfest says all patrons, volunteers, staff, vendors, sponsors and service providers will be required to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 to enter the Countryfest grounds, at the Selo Ukraina site just south of Dauphin.
Rob Waloschuk, Countryfest’s general manager said prior to Tuesday’s announcement that the province’s COVID-19 regulations for large public gatherings, which are already being used for indoor concerts in Winnipeg, will be manageable for Countryfest, which is an outdoor festival.
Waloschuk first presented an all-Canadian Countryfest lineup for 2021 as a way to avoid COVID-19 border-crossing difficulties that American performers might have. The festival was cancelled when COVID-19 cases rose, forcing provincial health officials to rule out large summer gatherings such as music festivals.
A special Countryfest kickoff will take place on the evening of June 30 with Corb Lund and Charlie Major performing at a special party for fans who chose not to refund their 2020 Countryfest passes when the event was cancelled the past two years.
Other performers announced Tuesday were: Gord Bamford, the Reklaws, the Hunter Brothers, Washboard Union, Chad Brownlee, Jess Moskaluke, the Road Hammers, Michelle Wright, Jade Eagleson, Madeline Merlo, Tyler Joe Miller and Aaron Pritchett.
Concert and campground passes go on sale Nov. 15 at 9 a.m. at countryfest.ca or by calling 1-800-361-7300 but Countryfest members can purchase passes Oct. 25.
Alan Small has been a journalist at the Free Press for more than 22 years in a variety of roles, the latest being a reporter in the Arts and Life section.