Mayor declares Country Thunder Week in Regina

Mayor declares Country Thunder Week in Regina
Mayor declares Country Thunder Week in Regina

Canada’s largest country music festival kicks off Thursday in Craven, Saskatchewan.

As fans prepare their cowboy boots for a two-step, foot-stomping ride, Country Thunder organizers say the grounds are ready to welcome the hordes of people, but also to brave the expected heat wave.

Troy Vollhoffer, president of Country Thunder, said the festival has four water trucks and plenty of resources on hand. He also said there will be 48 RCMP members on hand to ensure safety.

The organization organizes six Country Thunder festivals in North America each year.

Mayor Sandra Master has declared July 10-16 “Country Thunder Week” in the Queen City.

“With this proclamation, we celebrate the profound impact this festival has on our community,” Masters told media at City Hall Monday morning.

“Be kind to each other, dance like no one is watching and sing along to the incredible artists Country Thunder has brought to us this year.”

Country Thunder airs July 11-14 in Craven, Sask. (Daniella Ponticelli/CBC)

Masters said the country music festival is a major economic driver for Regina, bringing about $3 million into the city each year. She said it contributes to the city’s economic health through increased hotel stays, restaurant visits, airport traffic and shopping.

Country Thunder is also expecting its millionth guest at Craven this year. Those fans will be showered with extras when they come through the gates this weekend.

“It’s a huge deal for us,” Vollhoffer said. “It’s going to be a huge honor for us to be able to celebrate that with our millionth fan.”

The festival will feature performances by Saskatchewan artists including Eli Barsi, Teagan Littlechief and Regina’s own Melissa Mannett and Jeffery Straker.

Country Thunder traditionally offers opportunities for lesser-known artists to gain exposure to the public.

“I think it’s a compliment to Troy and his team because they always promote emerging artists,” Masters said.

One of those rising musicians is Regina’s Micah Walbaum, who will perform Saturday afternoon in the festival’s beer garden. Walbaum recently won Regina Pure Country 92.7’s Rising Superstar competition, which earned her a spot on Country Thunder.

Country Thunder takes place Thursday through Sunday in Craven and features performances by numerous artists including Luke Combs, Dallas Smith Nickelback and Gary Allen.