Brett Michaels returns to CannaFest 2019, after rocking Grand Forks at the 2018 event.                                 (Kathleen Saylors/Grand Forks Gazette)

Brett Michaels returns to CannaFest 2019, after rocking Grand Forks at the 2018 event. (Kathleen Saylors/Grand Forks Gazette)

2019 CannaFest spans generations and styles to rock Grand Forks

The festival kicks off Thurs., Aug. 8, in Grand Forks

It was 1977 or ‘78, Chuck Varabioff said, when his neighbours bought a “killer stereo.” His parents followed suit, and so he went and borrowed Cheap Trick’s latest album from a friend.

“I played it and played it and played it,” Varabioff remembered, until he finally returned the album, scratched and dusty after it had spun miles around his turntable. “I was scared to give it back to him.”

Now, at the fifth annual CannaFest in Grand Forks, Varabioff’s 14-year-old self is thrilled to see that band take centre stage at his festival on Aug. 9.

“That’s the one band I want to see more than anybody,” the CannaFest organizer said about this year’s lineup. “I want to see them all, but [Cheap Trick] takes a little bit of an edge.”

Cheap Trick also comes with his father’s endorsement too. The elder Chuck Varabioff, who died several months ago from cancer, was listening to the band’s rendition of the Elvis hit “Don’t be cruel” in his son’s truck.

“I just signed these guys for CannaFest,” the festival organizer told his dad at the time. “What do you think?”

“They’re not Elvis, but they’re pretty good,” his dad replied.

Cheap Trick joins a lineup that includes Poison’s Brett Michaels, former Journey lead singer Steve Augeri, Mötley Crüe’s Vince Neil, the Beach Boys and Marianas Trench – a late addition after “Take me home tonight” singer Eddie Money cancelled his summer tour for health reasons.

Where the Beach Boys formed in 1961, Marianas Trench formed fully 40 years later and released their debut album Fix You in 2006. Meaning, this year’s festival spans more genres and more decades of billboard hits than ever before.

Now, Varabioff said, there’s classics for the grandparents, hair bands for parents and the festival’s middle-age demographic and the Vancouver Juno winners offer something relevant for the third generation of CannaFest goers.

Last year of ‘CannaFest’

Varabioff also told the Gazette that the 2019 edition would be the last year for ‘CannaFest’– not that the music festival is shutting down or moving on, but he’s planning a rebrand for next year.

The organizer explained that having a cartoon pot leaf as a logo and the word “Canna” in the name has scared away some potential sponsors (leading to him fronting the cash to run the festival) and may even run afoul of the federal government’s guidelines on advertising. Cannabis companies are not allowed to market themselves using materials that might appeal to children, such as the leaf currently on CannaFest materials.

Despite the changes, Varabioff said, “It’s [still] going to be the same festival with the same people behind it.”

CannaFest 2019 runs from Aug. 8 through 10 in Grand Forks.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 70 new cases overnight

The total number of cases in the region is now at 1,426

Photo: Trail Times file
Heavy traffic back up in Trail after 3-vehicle collision on the bridge

A collision on the Trail bridge backed up traffic through the city’s core on Wednesday afternoon

Rossland Mayor Kathy Moore presents Larry Doell with Community Contributor Award. Photo: City of Rossland
Rossland honours longtime volunteer with community award

Larry Doell picked “because of his impressive years of service and the breadth of his contributions.”

The pool remains open, but all fitness classes suspended at Trail Aquatic and Leisure Centre.
Trail aquatic centre shuts down all fitness classes

Following clarification from PHO, Trail Parks and Rec suspends fitness classes, pool remains open

Four of the campaign volunteers were reimbursed $100 for helping to make the masks. Photo: Dave Cornelius
Rossland Masks4All campaign makes 2400 masks

The campaign ran from April to November

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic with 13 deaths, 738 new COVID-19 cases

Number of people in hospital is nearing 300, while total cases near 30,000

(File photo)
Alberta woman charged after allegedly hitting boy with watermelon at Okanagan campsite

Police say a disagreement among friends at an Adams Lake campsite turned ugly

Court of Appeal for British Columbia in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. woman loses appeal to have second child by using late husband’s sperm

Assisted Human Reproduction Act prohibits the removal of human reproductive material from a donor without consent

Krista Macinnis displays the homework assignment that her Grade 6 daughter received on Tuesday. (Submitted photo)
B.C. mom angry that students asked to list positive stories about residential schools

Daughter’s Grade 6 class asked to write down 5 positive stories or facts

B.C. projects targeting the restoration of sockeye salmon stocks in the Fraser and Columbia Watersheds will share in $10.9 million of federal funding to protect species at risk. (Kenny Regan photo)
13 projects protecting B.C. aquatic species at risk receive $11 million in federal funding

Salmon and marine mammals expected to benefit from ecosystem-based approach

Barrels pictured outside Oliver winery, Quinta Ferreira, in May. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
B.C. Master of Wine reflects on industry’s teetering economic state

Pandemic, for some wine makers, has been a blessing in disguise. For others, not so much.

Damien Smith, with father Thomas Smith, is “frozen” with joy as he watches a special message Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds recorded for Damien’s 9th birthday on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. (Contributed)
Shuswap boy celebrates 9th birthday with family, community and Ryan Reynolds

People from around the world send birthday cards showing young Canoe resident he’s not alone

(Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Refuse to follow B.C.’s mask mandate? Face a $230 fine

Masks are now required to be worn by all British Columbians, 12 years and older

Most Read