Merritt is slated to host another country music festival in 2015.

The Country Music Capital of Canada will play host to the Rockin’ River Music Festival, a four-day festival organizers announced Thursday they’ll be bringing to Merritt next August long weekend.

Rockin’ River is moving from Mission, where it has been held for the past six years. Organizer Ken Hess told a crowd gathered at the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology for the announcement that the event has outgrown the site in Mission.

Hess told the Herald the festival has grown over its six years and the Mission site is too close to that city.

He said the music festival site just outside of Merritt is larger with more available campsites.

Hess said he’s hoping to see this event to draw about 15,000 people per day to the festival — totalling 60,000 over the course of the long weekend. He said in Mission, the festival brought in about 20,000 to 25,000 people over the weekend.

Hess said he is in talks with the owners of the festival grounds for a long-term agreement that will see Rockin’ River use the site for the next decade.

“We’ve already got a well-established festival, a well-established site and a town that has been established for 20 years promoting country music,” Hess told the crowd.

He said organizers decided to bring the Rockin’ River Music Festival to Merritt at this time because they wanted enough time to pass between the demise of the Merritt Mountain Music Festival and the commencement of this one.

Helping to bring Rockin’ River to Merritt is Michelle Loughery’s Wayfinder Project and the Canadian Country Music Heritage Society.

In partnership with Rockin’ River, the Wayfinder project will be providing training programs.

Hess said youth will be taught and certified in jobs such as ticketing, security, hospitality and stage setup.

Loughery said this partnership essentially provides a trades academy that will involve on-site setup of parts of the festival grounds, such as washrooms, stages and food kiosks.

She described this partnership as a social enterprise.

Hess said this festival will help out the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame by bringing country music fans to the community.

Tourism Nicola Valley’s Anoop Sekhon told the Herald this festival will be “a huge economic driver” over the course of the August long weekend and will put Merritt on the map.

“It basically lets people know where we are, what we’re about and what we have to offer,” Sekhon said.

MLA Jackie Tegart told the crowd the old country music festival was important to Merritt and the region because it brought people from around the world to the Fraser-Nicola riding and the city, noting her excitement about the announcement of the new country music festival.

“It’s much more than a festival. It is an opportunity for young people to learn skills, it’s an opportunity for the community to showcase itself and it’s an incredible opportunity for the region around tourism and attracting people to come back,” Tegart said.

Hess told the crowd he will be looking to include local musicians as part of the show as well.

Hess also said he couldn’t release the musical lineup as of yet, but said organizers are offering a two-for-one ticket deal. Twenty-five bands are expected to play at the festival.

He said organizers want acts that cater to a variety of people, such as the “young radio crowd,” classic country music fans, and also fans of festivals.

The Rockin’ River Music Festival is slated for Thursday, July 30 to Sunday, Aug. 2, 2015 at the old Mountainfest grounds.

Bass Coast, the electronic music and arts festival that has run over the August long weekend for the last two years, is moving its dates to accommodate Rockin’ River.

Bass Coast 2015 is slated for July 10 to 13.