LITTLE CURRENT—Look out, Country Fest, there’s a new music festival in town—and it’s powered by rock and roll.

Hot on the heels of last weekend’s Manitoulin Country Fest, Rockin’ the Rock makes its debut in Little Current. The two-day, 19+ festival will feature notable Canadian rock musicians at the Flat Rock Entertainment Centre on Friday, August 17 and Saturday, August 18.

“I’m really excited. Even more than Country Fest,” says festival co-organizer Craig Timmermans, who also co-organized Country Fest with his wife Kelly.

The shows begin this Friday at 5:30 pm with a show by Island band Rural Roots. They will be followed by Deadline, Pop Mach!ne, Rail Road Steele, Helix, and finally The Headpins. The final show ends at 11:15 pm.

The first three groups are local groups that will be participating in a battle-of-the-bands competition. The winning group will get a 45-minute set to start off the Saturday setlist.

Following that act, attendees will be treated to the sounds of Fortunate Losers, Harlequin, Prism and Big Wreck. Programming also ends at 11:15 pm on Saturday.

“I have a really good feeling about it. We have an amazing lineup; it’s open concept with freestyle drinking,” says Mr. Timmermans. Since the event is adults only, attendees will be allowed to consume alcohol around the festival grounds. In contrast, the family-oriented Country Fest requires beer-drinkers to stay within a designated area.

“I wanted to start this festival ever since I started 100.7 FM back in 2001,” says Mr. Timmermans. Back then, the station broadcasted a classic rock format and was Manitoulin’s first community radio station. It briefly became a country station and is now called Glow 100, broadcasting a dance format.

A factor that has previously held Mr. Timmermans back from organizing the festival is the presence of Spanish’s annual Rock N’ Roar festival. However, that festival shut down last year, citing low ticket sales.

“We wanted to keep it in the North; we didn’t want to lose that festival,” says Mr. Timmermans.

The festival will feature two large video screens on either side of the main stage.

“There’s no festival in Northern Ontario with video walls of this size except Stars and Thunder. It’s a huge enhancement,” says Mr. Timmermans.

He has big plans for the future of this festival.

“The dream is to be able to afford Def Leppard in about five years,” says Mr. Timmermans. Getting that band in would cost roughly one million dollars for a 90-minute set.

He says he also wants to introduce a VIP area and more activities around the camping grounds for future years, depending on how much support the festival gets this year.

“We’ve got 275,000 watts. We’re a rock concert—we’re not messing around, we’re going to exceed people’s expectations,” says Mr. Timmermans.

Tickets are still available for purchase online or at the main gate of the festival. There are still plenty of camping spaces available at the festival grounds, and recent construction this year has increased camping capacity.  Mr. Timmermans says he expects between 1,500 and 2,000 people to show for this first year.

“The grounds have a very cool vibe to them. We have very few problems, everybody is happy and enjoys themselves. We know people are just going to enjoy it,” he says.

For tickets and more information about the show, visit