By Steve Hubrecht

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Flats Fest — the Canal Flats’s own country music festival — continues to go from strength to strength.

The fifth edition of the annual festival was held in Canal Flats in late August and drew a record crowd of more than 1,000 people  — enough to put Flats Fest on the map as one the valley’s premier summer happenings, on par with older, more long-established events.

“It did exceed our expectations,” said Flats Fest organizer Craig Moritz. “It went really well, and felt almost like a big family reunion. There were a lot of kids out there having a good time, and a lot of adults out there having a good time too.”

So how did the new kid on the block go from small scale to blockbuster so quickly?

Moritz was as modest as it gets when asked this very question by the Pioneer, and chalked it up to “the down home feeling the festival creates. There’s a real sense of community in Canal Flats and that transfers to our event. We have a lot of repeat artists who come to perform year after year just because they really like coming to Canal Flats. They’ll come several days before the festival and stay a few days after. They say they really feel like part of the community, and the cuts both ways, since by spending the extra time here, they develop a local following.”

The festival ran from the afternoon Friday, Aug. 19 through to night of Saturday, Aug. 20 and featured 21 bands spread across two stages. 

Some of musicians were local and other artists came from all across western Canada. Performers included Arcana Kings, Julian Austin, Doc Walker, Brother MacK Revival, Stomp Yard, Alias Morgan, C-Flats, Rockinomix, Lone Pine, Joe Mattalo, Tumbleweeds, Matt Blais, Alyssa Shaw, Ariana Evans, Brent Lee, The Promised, Jake Matthews, Garrett Gregory, Craig Moritz, the Johner Brothers, and Saturday night’s main stage headliner Jade Eagleson.