The 2021 edition of Dauphin’s Countryfest will kick off on Canada Day, and organizers will wave the maple leaf for entire four-day weekend.
The 31-year-old festival announced Wednesday — 365 days before the 2021 event is to begin — it will go with an all-Canadian lineup.
Countryfest general manager Rob Waloschuk promises a who’s who of Canadian country music, supplemented by a handful of rock artists, to be on Selo Ukraina’s three stages from July 1 to 4, 2021.
"We’re bringing nothing but the best of the best from this country. This will be the biggest contingent of Canadian country music that has been put together in one place," Waloschuk says.
Among the headliners will be Dallas Smith, Dean Brody, Johnny Reid, Terri Clark, Paul Brandt, Alan Doyle, Michelle Wright, the Reklaws and Manitoba acts Petric, Don Amero and Doc Walker.
"It’s time we started giving back to our own country," Waloschuk says. "Some of these artists have been playing from their couches, and they’re hurting as much as anybody, doing their charity work, all for us, and it’s time for us to give back to them."
The uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic played a role in the all-Canadian festival, he says. The Canada-U.S. border remains closed to all but essential traffic and there’s no timetable set for opening it again.
"It’s in the back of my mind," Waloshuk says of the coronavirus. "I hope, like everyone, by the time next year rolls around everything will be cleared up, but you just don’t know."
The Countryfest schedule so far:
● Thursday: Lee Aaron, the Headpins, Toronto, Petric, Emerson Drive, Aaron Pritchett and Charlie Major
● Friday: Kates Outlaw, Jade Turner, Desiree Dorion, Don Amero, Toque, Kristen Carter, Jade Eagleson, Jess Moskaluke, Washboard Union, Chad Brownlee, Terri Clark, Paul Brandt
● Saturday: Ryan Keown Band, the Road Hammers, Trooper, Madeline Merlo, Alan Doyle, the Reklaws, James Barker Band, Dean Brody, Dallas Smith
● Sunday: Melissa Livingstone, Clayton Bellamy and the Congregation, Doc Walker, Jason McCoy, Michelle Wright, George Canyon, Corb Lund, Hunter Brothers, Johnny Reid
— Alan Small