Dauphin’s Countryfest is Canada’s longest running country music festival celebrating 27 years. The weekend celebration was a fun-filled, 4 day event that was packed with music and activities. So many options available, that it is impossible for one person to partake in everything! There was something for everyone’s preferences; great entertainment, contests(flip cup & perogy eating), beach volleyball, helicopter rides, mechanical bull ride, bubble soccer and endless games at campsites and creek gatherings. Countryfest is about meeting old friends and making new friends and enjoying what the weekend has to offer.
Thursday night, Trooper and BlackJack Billy kicked off the festival on the hill top stages with high energy shows. These bands had both the Credit Union Corral stage and the MTS stage crowd fired up for a good time.
Friday coincided with Canada Day, so celebrations were definitely in order. The Manitoba Liquor Lotteries Main stage was loaded with talented Canadian music all day long from Autumn Hill, The Lovelocks, Cold Creek County, High Valley, Dallas Smith and Dean Brody. The unique amphitheatre is quite a powerful environment, when the musicians have the crowd on their feet dancing and singing the lyrics to the songs. In between one of the sets, the crowd spontaneously burst into patriotism by singing Oh Canada. The night of Canadian entertainment ended on the hilltop with Chad Brownlee on the MTS stage and Barrcuda(Heart tribute band) on the Credit Union Corral stage.
Saturday was another day of solid musical acts. The Manitoba Liquor Lotteries Main stage featured local Roblin, Manitoba talent of the Ryan Keown Band in the afternoon. The evening line up was spectacular with Chris Janson, Thomas Rhett and Lady Antebellum. Chris Janson brought two young siblings(Jace and Jordan Woloski) from Rapid City, Manitoba on stage to help sing his hit, “Buy Me A Boat”. Thomas Rhett also brought a male out of the crowd to sing a verse of Garth Brooks “Friends In Low Places”. Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley came right through the crowd! The full amphitheatre was high energy all evening!
Sunday musical acts were pure classic country. The Merle Haggard Tribute was pretty empowering. Merle’s sons, Noel and Ben Haggard, as well as Merle’s long time band, The Strangers put on a spectacular show. For anyone that was at Countryfest on Sunday, they can attest that the weather was pretty dreary and wet all day, but from the moment The Merle Tribute started, the sun came out for the first time. Maybe Merle was watching over his sons! The crowd enjoyed the classic songs of “Mama Tried”, “Silver Wings” and “Okie from Muskogee”. Unfortunately, Jamey Johnson was unable to attend. Following, the Merle Haggard Tribute, Terri Clark proved that 21 years in the music business that she has hit after hit. She put on an incredible performance. After a delay, the patient crowd enjoyed Dwight Yoakam. He sang all his classics from “Guitars, Cadillacs”, “Fast as You”, “Streets of Bakersfield”, “A Thousand Miles from Nowhere”, “Lttle Sister” and “Suspicious Minds”. The night ended on the hilltop stages with Dirty Catfish Brass Band and Deric Ruttan.
Overall, the weekend was fantastic and social media accounts are booming with pictures and videos, check out #cfest2016, to see what you may have missed this year. Watch the Chevy Top 20 Countdown on CMT to see clips and interviews from Dauphin’s Countryfest, that airs this Saturday July 9. I just wanna say, job well done to all the Dauphin’s Countryfest organizers and volunteers for yet another memorable year. I can't wait till the lineup for Dauphin’s Countryfest 2017 is announced …. Who would you like to see there next year?