The line dancing lessons take place daily in the beer gardens, and that’s not all for new entertainment. The festival has a full slate of new attractions, including the 22 Fresh Beach Club, beach volleyball tournament and daily professional wrestling shows from Canadian Wrestling’s Elite.
In the centre of it all, a slingshot ride that launches festival-goers hundreds of feet in the air.
“Oh, it’s deadly! Fourth time on it at Craven here. We went on it twice yesterday, twice today; the most fun ride,” Kalin Wagner said on Friday after stepping off the thrill ride.
Country Thunder’s digital marketing manager Samara Koenning said the ride and added attractions fit right in with what the festival is going for.
“Our owner loves the circus, so we’ve always got a little bit of flair of that, a little bit of carnival,” she said.
“The beach volleyball idea actually came to us in the dead of winter, and we were like what’s going to bring the sunshine and what’s going to make people think about the fun and the summertime, and that’s how the Beach Club came to be.”
Last year, festival organizers put a lot of resources into remodelling and beautifying some of the aging festival grounds. Attendees that spoke with Global News were positive about the recent changes, happy to see more money come into one of the summer’s biggest parties.
“When we heard there was a volleyball tournament we knew that’s what we wanted to do,” Mason Issel said.
“Yeah, I think it brings in more people than it would if it were just country music,” Jake Rapin said.
Once the festival closes for another year, Koenning said it will be back to the drawing board to get ready for when Country Thunder rolls again next year.
“I mean the sky’s the limit. We haven’t thought of our best idea yet, so we’re always open to trying different things,” Koenning said.
“Kind of changing the idea of what a music festival really is because it’s so much more than the mainstage talent.”