Rockin’ River Music Fest lineup bolstered

By on March 9, 2017
Seven more acts have been announced for the 2017 edition of Merritt's Rockin' River Music Festival. (File photo)

The Rockin’ River Music Festival has added another seven musical acts to a lineup that’s already chock-full of country music stars.

Joining the likes of Willie Nelson and Tobey Keith when the third Merritt-based instalment of the country music festival gets underway August long weekend will be an infusion of six Canadian acts and one from south of the border.

Rockin’ River president Kenny Hess said this year’s festival has about the same amount of musical acts, but he feels the level of country music artists has increased considerably.

“When you take a living legend like Willie Nelson and top hitmakers like The Band Perry, Tobey Keith and Kacey Musgraves, it’s a terrific lineup, and our Canadian’s are holding their own,” said Hess.

Aaron Pritchett was recently announced as the headliner to open day one of the four-day festival Thursday night (Aug. 3).

Pritchett, from Terrace B.C., has had numerous hits over the past 15 years said Hess.

Joining him as a Thursday night act will be Crystal Shawanda who is “probably Canada’s best known current First Nations artist,” said Hess.

“I’m excited about it. It’s going to make for a real nice night,” he said.

Joining Tobey Keith and the Washboard Union as part of Friday night’s lineup are Maple Ridge sisters Carly and Britt McKillip who make up country music duo One More Girl.

The McKillips are a couple of up and coming new country music artists, said Hess.

“One More Girl’s had a string of number one videos on CMT [Country Music Television], and they got a brand new album coming out,” said Hess.

Also added to Friday’s acts is the band Waterloo Revival — an American duo from Nashville, TN consisting of Cody Cooper and bandmate George Birge who met in middle school.

Last June, they signed on to Tobey Keith’s label, Show Dog Nashville, and joined him on tour.

“They’ve got some big things happening right now in the [United] States and we grabbed them a little early,” said Hess. “I think by the time the [Rockin’ River] festival comes around everybody will be very familiar with them. They’ve got a single out that’s just crushing [on the] radio right now,” he said.

Aaron Goodvin from Spirit River Alta. and Brodie Siebert from Spiritwood Sask., have also been added to Saturday’s lineup, joining The Band Perry and Brett Kissel.

“Aaron Goodvin just finished having a number one single in Canada — great Canadian artist based out of Nashville,” said Hess.

“[Siebert is] a terrific young artist. [He’s] got a new album out that’s doing very well,” said Hess.

Alberta-based country Music artist Trevor Panczak will join Kacey Musgraves and Willie Nelson as part of Sunday’s musical acts.

Hess said that ticket sales to the 2017 event are up more than double what they were over the same time period last year.

Tickets haven’t sold out yet, however, and Hess said a sellout crowd would be about 50,000 people over the course of the four-day event.

“We don’t want to grow too fast, [but] hopefully we’ll get there,” said Hess adding that he thinks this year will come close to hitting that 50,000 plateau.

The 2017 Merritt Rockin’ River Music Festival takes place Aug. 3 to 6.

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