The Columbia Valley’s premier country music festival is back once again, so get ready to dust off those buckaroo boots, set your cowboy hats on straight and head on down to Canal Flats.
The third annual Flats Fest is slated for next weekend, running all day Saturday, August 17th, with a barn-burning line up of musicians guaranteed to get toes tapping and boots stomping.
Somewhat incredibly, the event has (in just three short years) grown from the ashes of what was once a private party held near Skookumchuk into one of biggest dates on the Valley’s musical calendar (and the only one dedicated solely to country music), drawing 500 people last year and in its inaugural edition back in 2017. It’s worth pointing out that this attendance figure is almost equal to the entire population of Canal Flats, and that when organizers launched the first Flats Fest, they were modestly hoping that a few people would show up.
This year the festival is headlined by rising country star Aaron Goodvin and is rounded out with top-notch talent including Garret Gregory, Julian Austin, Craig Moritz, Tyler Wheelan, Foxx Worthee, Brent Lee and Drink Flamingo.
Mr. Moritz (himself a Canal Flats resident) doubles as a Flats Fest performer and, in conjunction with the Canal Flats Community Society, an organizer. He attributes the festival’s smash success so far to maintaining a focus on music and to keeping a distinctly Canal Flats flavour.
“I think the size of the event and the size of the town fit just right. To have it right in town (in the Canal Flats ball diamond) helps. Many people come (to the festival) by simply walking out their front door. We’ve been really fortunate; the community has really stepped up to support us. Hopefully we keep it going,” said Mr. Moritz.
The Canal Flats Community Society uses all the money raised from the festival for charitable work.
“It all goes back to Canal Flats, every penny. They (the society) use it for community development projects such as parks, playgrounds, shelters, the food bank, that kind of thing,” said Mr. Moritz.
Flats Fest starts at noon and runs until 11 p.m. Tickets are $50 in advance or $60 at the door and can be purchased through eventbrite.ca (search for Flats Fest on the site), at the Canal Flats village office, or at Family Pantry. For more information see the event website (flatsfest.ca) or check out the Flats Fest Facebook page.