If you lived on the Coast in the late 1990s you might remember sitting in a farmer’s field in Sechelt listening to a huge country music festival that drew many fans to hear the likes of the Rankin Family and other favourites.
Pender Harbour Golf Course clubhouse manager Heather Brown has not forgotten how much fun those concerts were.
“I love country music. I’m a country girl,” Brown said.
She got to talking it over with a friend in the industry at Desolation Sound Music and decided to bring the music back to the Coast, getting support from the golf club where she worked for hosting the festival on their land.
Her first thought was to hold a country blitz all in one day, but then she decided to involve rock music to give a little something for everyone.
The Highway 101 Country and Rock Music Festival will launch its first year this Labour Day weekend, Sept. 1 and 2.
Saturday is the day to rock with headliner Chilliwack who reportedly puts on an excellent show. Odds are that they will sing Whatcha Gonna Do When I’m Gone. Formerly The Collectors (remember Lydia Purple?), Chilliwack is also remembered for their gold album, Look In, Look Out.
Trama, a classic rock cover band from Vancouver, also headlines. The Retrosonics play covers and also some original music. Toy Zebra comes from Campbell River, and Identity Crisis is one of Nanaimo’s top party bands. The Lorne Jones All Star Band has persuaded country rocker Redd Volkaert to sit in on a set.
The first act of the day is a local band, Sinmobile, who promote indie original music on the Coast (see story on page 44).
“I want to come and play in my home town,” said one of the members of Mitigo, now based in Vancouver.
Mark and Virginia Nieuwenhuis went to Pender Harbour Secondary School and grew up in Kleindale. Now it’s time to play to fans at their former stomping ground.
Country day opens on Sunday with Gospel Hour from 11 a.m. to noon.
Headliners on stage later that evening are fabulous musicians, The Fleetwood Boys, featuring Grammy winner Volkaert live from Austin, Tex. and including Chris Volkaert, Wilf Warkentin and Larry Church.
The Midnite Rodeo Band, recording artists, will also play, and the handsome Jess Lee, formerly with the band, sings solo.
“I’m looking forward to hearing Whiskey Jane live,” Brown said. “Her music sounds wonderful.”
The Vancouver-based vocalist is a fresh, new voice recently nominated for a Western Country Music Award.
The group Tiller’s Folly knows they already have fans on the Coast for their set. Lorne Jones, who grew up in Roberts Creek, performs with The Tugs while Trio Grande offers classic country sounds.
Singer songwriter Joe Stanton and the Precious Littles are always a hometown favourite for their original, roots-based music.
Bring your own blankets and chairs, if you like. Festival goes on rain or shine.
On site vendors will be laying on food and refreshments. Gates open at 10 a.m. Show starts at noon Saturday with the first band at 12:20. Sunday morning opens with Gospel Hour at 11 a.m. and the late night Sunday music act features Volkaert and a musician’s jam. Camping is available just across the highway at the Lion’s Club Park and campsite, if you don’t want to drive after midnight.
Tickets for $60/day or $90 for two days are available at Mike’s Place and Laedeli in Gibsons, Strait Music in Sechelt, at the golf course and at Pender Harbour Insurance. (Show your Sunshine Coast Credit Union card for a discount.) See www.
hwy101musicfest.com for more.