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VIDEO: A red solo cup of Sunfest, with a chaser of opera

Sunfest and opera in one column? Well, you know I love an extravaganza.
It’s not the sharpest picture in the world but it is indeed the divine Sophia as Aida in a 1953 production of Verdi’s opera. Apparently she didn’t sing a note. (Submitted)

As I write this, Sunfest 2017 only finished a bit more than two weeks ago, but the rush is on already for 2018.

It all began Monday, Aug. 19 with a Facebook post on Sunfest Country saying: “Tickets go on sale Aug. 21 at 9 a.m.”

By 9:02 a.m. on Aug. 21, Sunfest was already fielding desperate concerns about logging in to the site.

By just after noon, a new note had been added reminding music fans: “Believe it or not, Laketown Ranch does have a limited capacity! For this reason, we give priority to our weekend ticket purchasers. Single day tickets will be released at a later date. We will be announcing our second wave of artists in November/December. In the meantime we are counting down the days to when Eric Church will be on our stage.”

They sure didn’t need to whip up that excitement. It’s never stopped resonating since Church was announced on the Friday night of Sunfest 2017 as 2018’s big name headliner.

By 6:30 p.m. Aug. 21, Sunfest announced that the Infield camping area is sold out for 2018, adding “this has never happened before! If you haven’t got your tickets yet, get them quick because they are going fast.”

By Aug. 22 at 9 a.m. the campsite reservations were flying out the door.

“Mellor is sold out! Big Boy’s toys is sold out! Tractor Pull is sold out!” the Facebook page screamed.

By noon, Wednesday, Aug. 22, the lower camping area was entirely gone, much to the disappointment of campers who weren’t quick enough on their feet.

There were only a few sites left in the Family area but there were still sites in Canadian Tire, the Outfield and Radar Hill but those were expected to go quickly, too.

According to Sunfest’s Erin Richards, “We’re over the moon about it. We feel a lot of it has to do with Eric Church, of course, because he’s a superstar and a lot of rock and roll fans as well as country fans will want to hear him. But we also think it’s had a lot to do with how successful Sunfest was this year. People want to camp and have that festival experience rather than just come up for Sunday night to hear Eric.”

So, when the tickets for individual nights come up for sale, don’t wait.

Just a word to the wise.


Apropos of last week’s column about opera, I received a call from a new Valley resident who is also an opera fan. He wanted to learn about the Live at the Met: in HD shows at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre, of course, but he also just wanted to have a good gossip.

Apparently, he said, in the early 1950s, an Italian impresario filmed two operas with real live singers performing the music but with actors playing the parts.

I looked it up and as Charlie Pride says in his live recording of his country music show, “It’s true! It’s true!”

Are you ready for a young Sophia Loren as Aida? Well the world of opera has always been known for its crazy excesses but I don’t know about that one. The mind boggles.