Country music to rock the river

Kenny Hess

It’s almost time for the Rockin’ River Music Fest at Mission Raceway Park again, and organizers are promising this year will be the biggest yet.

The event features two days jam-packed with two dozen top and up-and-coming country music stars from Canada and beyond, with acts taking place on both a main stage and beer garden.

Sales have been brisk so far, according to festival promoter Kevin Gillies, who says he expects about 3,000 people each evening.

It all begins Friday night (Aug. 12) with the main stage lineup:

• Identical twins Courtney and Stephanie Fera, born and raised in Vancouver, this duo has been nominated several times in the B.C. Country Music Awards;

• Jetty Road from Australia have won Country Group of the Year three years running;

• Snake Oil Band, featuring Vancouver’s Ken McCoy;

• Chad Brownlee, a former Vancouver Canucks sixth-round draft pick, he’s now the B.C. Country Music Association’s best male vocalist;

• Maple Ridge’s Rick Tippe, eldest son of country music hall-of-famer Elmer Tippe;

Headlining the night is multi-platinum record selling Lonestar from Nashville, and the legendary Sawyer Brown.

Then Saturday night:

• Merv Tremblay, or “The Merv,” an energetic performer that will get the dance floor jumping;

• Dave Hartney and David Borys of Steel Toe Boots;

• Emily Taylor Adams of Langley, an up-and-coming superstar who is the reigning B.C. Country Music Association’s best female vocalist;

• Squamish’s Brent Lee, who has been playing and touring around the world for 25 years;

• Mission’s own Kenny Hess, festival organizer.

Headlining on Saturday is New Brunswick’s standout country music star Julian Austin, and Georgia’s multi-Grammy winner Travis Tritt.

Throughout the festival the beer garden stage will have Maple Ridge’s Johnson Brothers, grandsons of Elmer Tippe; Brent Lee (also on the main stage Saturday); and the Gabby’s Girls line-dancers, a group of Langley gals known for their performances from Cloverdale to Nashville.

Camping is available at Mission Raceway Park for between $50 and $120, but call ahead to reserve (604-733-2235). Parking is $5. Doors open at 2 p.m. on both days with the beer garden stage warming up the crowd.

Bring your own lawn chairs and blankets, or reserve a seat for $109 for rows four to 20, or $119 for the front three rows. Single day tickets are available for $59, or you can see both days for $89. Children under 12 are free with an adult. Corporate specials are open until July 30. Tickets are available at www.rockinriver.com or Lower Mainland Lordco outlets.

The Rockin’ River festival also supports Variety Children’s Charity, and will donate $10 from every ticket sale to that cause. For full details and more info about each performer visit www.rockinriver.com.