By Barb Brouwer
Salmon Arm is going country on Canada Day.
Whatever the weather, the Salmon Arm and Shuswap Lake Agricultural Association is hosting its first CountryFest from 5:30 p.m. to midnight at the fairgrounds.
“Our other barn dances were cancelled due to Covid so we thought Canada Day was a great time to celebrate and bring together B.C. talent,” said Salmon Arm Fair Manager Jim McEwan, noting talented country music artists Aaron Halliday, Tanner Dawson and Ben Klick will perform. “We thought Salmon Arm was long overdue to enjoy music outside and these artists happened to be available, so that’s perfect.”
The recipient of the 2021 International Singer songwriters Association Award for Entertainer of the Year, Halliday will bring his Alan Jackson Experience to Countryfest.
Halliday, who makes his home in Kelowna, began busking on the streets of Ottawa many years ago. His get-on-with-it call came from Canadian icon Stomping’ Tom Connors, who dropped $20 in his case and told him he was too good to be playing on street corners.
Ben Klick is a fun-loving entertainer and storyteller, who, at the age of four, began singing into a purple plastic microphone while wearing a Fisher-Price electric guitar.
Since then, Klick has achieved multiple B.C. Country music awards, international country music awards, was named a Distinguished Alumni at Okanagan College, and won a Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for his work in the music industry.
Klick loves his fans, his team and likes making guitar-driven, modern country sounds mixed with a traditional twist.
While studying audio engineering and music production in Kelowna, Klick was flying back and forth to Nashville. He loves to write strong, ear-catching melodies and create ideas that come to life through music.
He started to release original songs in 2015, receiving national and international airplay. His goal in music is to become an international household name, a member of the Grand Ole Opry, and be an artist whose music stands the test of time.
Born in Chase, Canadian country music artist Tanner Dawson recently released his debut single, “The Man You Make Me,” and is working on his debut EP to be released mid-2022.
Dawson mixes traditional country vocals with rock, blues, funk, and ’90’s country to create a unique and broad sound that he brings to his high-energy performances.
Canada Day CountryFest also feature fun activities, food trucks and beverages.
McEwan expects between 500 to 750 people to enjoy this event, which is being billed as the first annual.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” says McEwan, who has previously organized music festivals in Vernon. “I’m happy to be back, I enjoy getting people together and having a fun, safe event, especially in the summer.”
As waves of Covid continue to roll in, McEwan says it’s not yet clear what precautions or restrictions will be in place at the outdoor venue, but organizers will follow Interior Health and provincial health orders.
Tickets are now available, and organizers encourage people to buy sooner rather than later because the event is expected to sell out early.
To purchase tickets at early bird prices and for more information on Canada Day CountryFest 2022, go online to www.salmonarmfair.com/countryfest.
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