To the Expositor:
What a fantastic show! Country Fest V exceeded all of our expectations.
We came not knowing what to expect. I listen to country music all the time when I am working in my shop in the garage. I like the music, but never paid much attention to who was singing.
The lineup of singers was impressive and as we watched act after act, we were impressed with the variety and quality of Canadian country musicians. All were good, but Crystal Shawanda and George Canyon stood out and really connected with the 6,000 people in the audience. Afterwards, each performer would sign autographs at a meet and greet which I thought was amazing as long lines of fans waited patiently for a few moments with their favourite star.
The set up was excellent with many food vendors as well as hats and shirts and all manner of lighted paraphernalia. Rena Collins from Dreamers Cove was her usual happy self, plying her wares and greeting her friends. The Wahls supplied their pure water and a third generation was taking in the sun and music.
The new Lions pavilion was a long overdue amenity and was serving a multi purposed usage all weekend. Club secretary Alicia McCutcheon told me that the Little Current Lions covered $45,000 of the costs and are to be commended for their fine work. The Lions do this sort of thing so often that we forget the many hard hours that go into raising that money and it is something the Little Curent Lions do year after year.
Everything about Country Fest is a class act. We stayed at the Timmerman’s campgrounds and what a site it was as we rolled in a day late on Friday. There had to be over 100 tents and trailers set up. And getting to the Fest was easy with a shuttle bus running constantly. (This was included in the camping fee). The souvenir program and the new Northeast Town brochure were available in our package at the campgrounds and both publications are both slick, well done and provide lots of information.
At the site, the staging, light and sound set up were both excellent and well positioned to provide excellent viewing and listening anywhere on the grounds. The list of sponsors was impressive as was the camaraderie from the musicians on stage who would compliment fellow performers even as they played their own songs.
When I was the economic development officer in Little Current and Howland, it was events like Country Fest that our committee knew would both help the local Manitoulin economy and provide an economic benefit just not to Little Current but to the area economy. Even the Town of Elliott Lake acknowledged this as they donated the use of all that fancy white fencing that clearly sectioned off the stage area in a classy way. The Northeast Town, of course, supported this via program ads and we do know the beforehand work that the public works staff takes such a pride in helping to get the venue ready for events such as Country Fest, Haweater Weekend, the Manitoulin Trade Fair, and the Mackinaw to Manitoulin Challenge, to name just a few.
I miss Manitoulin and try to get back as often as I can. Our family doctor is still here (down south there are none). At Country Fest we met a whole lot of old friends and spent time chatting and getting updated as we basked in the sun and had a real blast. I put so many miles on my walker that I had to tune it up afterwards.
Thank you Craig and KT, thank you Little Current, and thank you to all we met this past weekend—you made us proud and happy just to be there with you.
A great new event is now becoming an institution on Manitoulin. We made the Trade Fair an institution, the Lions made Haweater Weekend an institution, and Craig and KT have made this a premiere Canadian country music event. This only proves that Islanders take chances for niche quality events that help the local economy immensely and bring a lot of laughter and fun to a whole bunch of people.