Thousands rock in Mission

Country music fans enjoy three-day Rockin' River Music Festival

Brad Paisley closed Friday night’s Rockin River Musicfest with a mix of high energy country rock

Big and Rich closed down this year’s Rockin’ River Music Festival with an audacious show Saturday night.

Thousands of fans swarmed the main stage at Mission Raceway Park and danced into the night.

This was the biggest event yet in the festival’s five-year history, said organizer and performer, Kenny Hess. “It was a world-class show. Everyone walked away in awe and not sure what hit them.”

About 26,000 fans enjoyed the three-day music concert. Advanced ticket sales alone totalled attendance from the last three years combined.

“I think they’ll be back in droves next year,” said Hess, who admitted this year’s show cost three times as much to put on as previous years, and despite the jump in numbers, the festival still fell short on breaking even.

“It takes years for these things to work and we’re just on the cusp of it. We’re in the land of major festivals.”

Hess said he enjoyed every act and the “shows were amazing.” This year’s festival drew some of the biggest names in the country music world to the Fraser Valley, including Brad Paisley, Trooper, Joe Nichols, Chris Young and Emerson Drive.

Paisley, who headlined Friday’s show, has won numerous Grammy Awards, Academy of Country Music Awards, and Country Music Association Awards. His light show was incredible, shared Hess.

Although he enjoyed every minute of the festival, Hess says his favourite moments were away from the stage and spending time with his friends, like taking Kenny Alphin from Big and Rich, on a loop around the Fraser River on a boat for the first time.

“He absolutely loved it,” said Hess, who is already working on plans for next year’s festival.

Hess thanked those who helped put the show together and everyone who supported it. He also encouraged those who didn’t make it out this year to stop by next year. “You don’t know what you’re missing.”

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