George Canyon will be performing in Castlegar July 1.

The countdown is on for Kootenay Country Music Festival

Featuring headliners George Canyon, Jason Benoit, and Aaron Pritchett festival looks promising.

The plans for the first Kootenay Country Music Festival (KCMF) in Castlegar are coming along and organizer Travis Pangburn is looking forward to seeing it all come together July 1 and 2.

“Everything is in motion, planning is all set and done,” he said. “Basically at this point we are urging locals and everyone else to get out there and get their passes and support the festival.”

Pangburn encourages people to get their passes early as the event has already reached 60 per cent of his ticket sales goal.

“We don’t want people waiting until almost the day of and then we have a huge push in ticket sales a couple of days before and then people can’t get in to see the show because we do have a [maximum] capacity,” said Pangburn.

The show’s headliners are George Canyon, Jason Benoit, Jessica Mitchell and Aaron Pritchett. The remaining lineup includes Castlegar’s own Lisa Nicole, Mosquito Creek, Dakota Pearl, Me and Mae, Garry Fjellgaard, Jackson Hollow, Dani Strong and Union Duke, a high-tempo folk band that Pangburn says is the show to watch if you are not a country music purist.

“There is something for everyone at the festival,” he said.

A special campground will be set up near the Doukhobor Discovery Centre for festival goers with unserviced RV and tent sites available. The festival campground will have portable toilets and recycling/trash centers. Check in is Friday, June 30, at 11 a.m. and check out is Monday, July 3 at 11 a.m. Tent sites are $50 for the weekend and RV sites are $60. More information and reservation options can be found on the festival’s website.

Parking at the festival grounds can be reserved and prepaid, but there are a limited number of spots. Transit will be available from the following locations on a set schedule: Castlegar Community Complex, Sandman Hotel, Pioneer Arena, The Element, and the festival camp ground.

Other activities will be available during the festival and food vendors will be on site. A fairground for kids will be set up. Features include a mechanical bull for the grown-ups and inflatable houses and a wild west shooting gallery for the kids.

There will also be a round robin horseshoe tournament featuring standard horseshoe rules. A maximum of 16 teams with participants over the age of 19 can enter. Applications are available on the festival website. Prizes are passes to next year’s festival.

More information about the festival can be found at kootenaycountryfest.com. That is also where you can purchase tickets. Adult passes are $150 for the weekend or $100 for a day pass, youth (13-18 years) are $70 for the weekend. Regular rates are $150 for the weekend for adults or $100 for a single day, youth (13-18 years) $82.50 for the weekend and kids 12 and under are free, but must have ID to prove age and be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

If you need help purchasing your tickets, staff at the Castlegar Visitor Centre are available to assist with navigating the process.

Pangburn has big dreams for the future of the KCMF and is already working on the 2018 plans. He is hoping to see the festival grow to include more big names and over 5,000 people attending every year.

“We want to grow this and basically cater to what the people in Castlegar want to see,” said Pangburn. “If things are successful and people come out and support this festival, I think there will be more sources of artistic inspiration that come out of this for the community.”

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