Shine up your boots and grab your cowboy hat; the second annual Flats Fest is only two weeks away.
With a lineup sure to impress any boot stompin’ fan, including Lisa Brokop, Julian Austin, Duane Steele, Jaydee Bixby, Craig Moritz, Tyler Whelan, Garret Gregory and Brianna Whelan, the country music festival in Canal Flats is quickly gaining momentum.
The event is put on by the Canal Flats Community Society, in conjunction with local musician Craig Moritz. Shawn Doherty of the society says they were not sure what to expect in 2017, and were floored when 500 people attended the humble one-day show.
“The first Flats Fest was a huge success,” recalls Mr. Doherty. “With the mill closing down and people off to different places, it seemed like a big reunion to me. I saw a pile of friends I hadn’t seen in a long time, and made some new ones of course. It’s just a really good small-town feel day.”
With the entrance cost, festival attendees can camp for free on site (first come, first served for space), have access to the beer garden, browse the vendor stalls, take in the free face painting and balloon artist, and enjoy a full afternoon and evening of country music.
Mr. Doherty says one change attendees might notice this year is the new electrical system. Last year, the event used a generator that had to be refilled multiple times to power the stage. This year, secondary homeowner Barry Wentz of B.D.W. Electrical Installations Ltd. volunteered his time and materials to help install electrical service to the ball diamond area. Mr. Wentz told the Pioneer that he enjoyed Flats Fest and wants to be more involved in the community, so he offered to help, alongside local company Taynton Bay Electrical.
The infrastructure is a welcome addition to the area, and power can be used for any future events, Mr. Doherty says.
“We have quite a few part time people in Canal Flats. I really feel these people choose our little town because it truly is a community and they want to be a part of that,” says Mr. Doherty. “Guys like Barry (Wentz) stepping up and putting in the sweat equity and money shows this in spades.”
The Canal Flats Community Society hosts events in the village that promote a sense of community. Prior to the Flats Fest, the annual curling funspiel was their biggest annual event. The Flats Fest has bowled over the funspiel as the society’s largest annual event.
“Monies raised go back into our town: pump track, directional signs and a bus stop in front of the hall are a few projects we have undertaken,” says Mr. Doherty. “We also donate money to our local food bank, Christmas party the hall puts on, Easter egg hunt and Halloween party.”
The society has their sights set next on raising enough money to build a pavilion in the downtown park.
Flats Fest runs rain or shine. Bring your own chairs and umbrellas; no pets allowed in the festival area. Tickets are $50; children 12 and under are free. Tickets are available at the Family Pantry in Canal Flats or online at eventbrite.ca, and search for ‘Flats Fest 2018’.
Organizers are seeking more sponsors for the Flats Fest. If you are interested in sponsorship opportunities, contact Barry Benson at 250-342-5809. If you would like to help out with face painting or other opportunities, contact Amber Byklum at 250-349-5622.