Manitoba may have received its first major blast of winter this week, but the organizers of Canada’s longest-running country music festival are hoping to warm things up with a look ahead at next summer’s event in Dauphin, Man.
Dauphin’s Countryfest announced its first round of performers Tuesday, marking the return of artists from the U.S. for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as some Canadian stars.
This coming July long weekend, Dauphin will play host to country-rock icon and former Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman John Fogerty, originally booked for the cancelled 2020 festival.
Fogerty will be joined by headliners Tenille Townes, Walker Hayes, and Dierks Bentley, who hasn’t played the festival in a decade.
Countryfest general manager Rob Woloschuk told Global News that last year’s successful festival — which featured only Canadian acts after two years of pandemic-enforced shutdown — helped pave the way for a full comeback in 2023.
“It’s coming off of a couple of years of not doing a festival … and being able to do a successful one this last year. We’re pretty excited about what we have to offer this year,” Woloschuk said.
“It was very difficult over those two years. So many organizations in the area and the province actually benefit from Countryfest as their primary source of income for most of their functions throughout the year, and, of course, there was two years without any of that, and it was really tough.”
Woloschuk said the festival’s devoted fanbase played a big role in getting it back on its feet after a difficult time.
“The fans came out last year in droves and really helped support and bring it all back, and we were really worried — it sure was exciting to see all of those people.
“It was actually very heartwarming. Everybody came back out again, and with the all-Canadian lineup, we couldn’t have asked for a better year last year.”
Countryfest attendees can buy advance tickets later this month through the event’s website, including a new “layaway”-style option to reserve your tickets with a deposit and pay for them slowly throughout the year.
Other performers announced Tuesday include Tim Hicks, the James Barker Band, Tim & The Glory Boys, Robyn Ottolini, DJ Johnny Rivex, and host Jason McCoy. Many more lineup announcements are expected before July’s festival.