Sunfest 2016 is officially underway. All day campers and day-visitors have been arriving at the festival’s new Laketown Ranch site, in what by most accounts has been an orderly ingress, thanks in large part to a second entry gate this year.
The Laketown Ranch property has three stages—the Flats Stage, the Saloon Stage and, of course, the Main Stage.
At the Flats, the smaller stage located in the festival’s vendor area and social hub, Honeymoon Bay musician Aaron Anderson kicked off the day’s musical entertainment at 4 p.m.
Guitarist and pianist Steph McPherson christens the Main Stage with her performance starting at 5 p.m.
At 6:20 pm are Bucko and Toad (aka Kenn and Kelly Coutu of Victoria). The husband and wife, country-pop duo bring their “fun-loving spirit” and humour to their upbeat music.
At 7:50 p.m., Canadian country rockers The Road Hammers take over the stage for all those festival-goers who like it loud.
Then country legend Neal McCoy closes out the Main Stage with his performance at 9:50 pm. McCoy hails from none other than Nashville, Tennessee, and is perhaps best known for his number one hit singles “No Doubt About It” and “Wink.” McCoy’s been packing concert venues for close to 30 years, and its expected this opening night at Sunfest will be no different.
Past the Main Stage, closer to Sunfest’s camp area is the Saloon Stage. Vancouver’s Wooden Horsemen will be performing two sets this evening at 7:10 and 9:10. Expect a show that “combines the sincerity of folk and blues music with rhythms that inspire dancing.” According to its website, the band fuses elements of raw blues, soul and rock music, incorporating Latin- and African-inspired rhythmic approaches.
They’re followed by The Tumblin’ Dice at 11:30 p.m. These guys are no strangers to Sunfest regulars, having previously been the festival’s “house band” for three years. The group consists of Ryan Evans (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Andrew Laing (lead guitar), Leigh Grisewood (bass) and Jamie Troy (drums). The Tumblin’ Dice will deliver a range of country music, from upbeat party songs to “hard-hitting ballads.”
On tap for tomorrow:
The Flats Stage has line dancing at noon, followed a little later by Aaron Anderson (2:30 p.m.), She Could Be Trouble (4:00 p.m.), and the Lance Lapointe Band (11:30 p.m.)
The Saloon Stage gets underway a bit later with Steph Macpherson (5:40 p.m.), two sets by Dirty Mountain (7:10 p.m. and 9:10 p.m.) and Runaway Lane just before bed (11:30 p.m.)
And on the Main Stage, Dave Hartney gets going at 5 p.m., then Me & Mae (6:20 p.m.), High Valley (7:50 p.m.) and Dallas Smith (9:50 p.m.)