By Carey Langsner, Rock At Night Ontario
Venue: Countryfest on the Grand-Paris, Ontario-July 1, 2018
As Canada got ready to celebrate its 151st Birthday on July 1st, on Saturday in Paris, Ontario preparations were moving ahead to put on the first annual Countryfest On The Grand music festival.
As the day approached, Mother Nature brought an extreme heat wave to Southern Ontario with temperatures reaching as high as 44C [112F] on festival day. With little shade available at the fairgrounds, the festival organizers, worried about how the crowd would survive in the heat, created a “cooling room” inside one of the buildings where people could go and cool down for free. Credit has to be given to the various food and drink vendors as they did not gouge the public on the price of bottled water. Pre-event ticket sales had been brisk, but the weather definitely kept some of the fans at home.
The Cory James Mitchell band, who won the opening spot at the festival through a Battle of the Bands held a couple of weeks earlier in Brantford, took to the stage only to find out that the monitors were not working properly. After an hour long delay, all of the sound problems were fixed and the music could begin. To help make up for the lost time, the stage crew worked super hard to make most stage change-overs happen in less than ten minutes, and most of the bands had their set shortened by 1 song. Kudos to the stage crew for working extra hard in the heat.
Over the course of the very sunny and hot afternoon Five Oceans from London, Brad James from Stoney Creek, Rich Cloke from Burlington, Ryan Langton from Niagara Falls, The Redhill Valleys from Hamilton, and Runaway Angels all performed to an energetic crowd.
As Melissa from KX94.7 was on stage to introduce Eric Ethridge, the headline act for the festival, the sun had gone down, the heat dropped and the June bugs, being attracted by the stage lights, were everywhere. Eric and his band hit the stage hard – they literally ran onto the stage and hit their first note before they came to a stop. The high level of energy Eric and his band put out for their hour long set was matched by the crowd as they rushed towards the stage and danced to every song.
Congratulations to the organizers and volunteers of Countryfest On The Grand on a very successful first year edition of this sure to be annual event.
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