Gerry Krochak and his CEO partner Troy Vollhoffer maybe good ole Saskatchewan boys but even though they have created a series Country Thunder music festivals which feature some of Country Music’s biggest names, they still get a big kick out of presenting Canadian talent to U.S audiences.
With a network of festivals which spans Twin Lakes Wisconsin, Florence Arizona, Craven Saskatchewan, Calgary Alberta and this year, Kissimmee Florida, the pair are in a unique position to network top names through a series of shows. And this they have done with Chris Stapleton, Steve Earle, Toby Keith and Tim McGraw topping the bill at a number of the above-mentioned events.
But it’s the ability of the pair to promote the likes of Dallas Smith, High Valley, The Hunter Brothers and Meghan Patrick to U.S audiences which give Krochak and Vollhoffer a special sense of accomplishment.
“Watching Canadian artists hold their own on the main stage is gratifying,” notes Krochak, director of marketing and media relations, who is based in Calgary. “Watching Madeline Merlo, who is a real firecracker, is a real treat. She’s got the looks, she’s got the songs, she is the complete package.”
Krochak enthused about the impact Shaunavon Saskatchewan’s Hunter Brothers had on the festival’s Florence Arizona audience earlier this April. “They went on stage at 2:30 in the afternoon, might have been their first ever U.S performance,” he noted. “Yet they did more with that 2:30 slot than any other artist I have ever seen. That one performance has led to a number of unique opportunities for them. They received a glowing review in the Arizona Daily Star and they have received U.S record label interest.”
A former draft pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins who spent 10 years toiling in the NHL team’s farm system, Vollhoffer moved on to form Premier Global Productions, a Nashville, TN based sound and lights company. This led to the first two Country Thunder locations in Wisconsin and Arizona in 1996 before he took over the Craven Saskatchewan festival in 2005 and then expanded to Calgary in 2016 before adding Kissimmee Florida to his network this March.
With Krochak operating as the festival’s Canadian contact, both the Craven Saskatchewan and Calgary Alberta provide a combination of superstar U.S artists combining with the cream of Canadian talent and a number of up and coming names.
“This year we have Chris Stapleton and Steve Earle performing in Craven,” noted Krochak. “Stapleton hates playing festivals, he’d much prefer a more intimate surrounding but we have convinced him to play Saskatchewan, Wisconsin and he has already played in Arizona in April. We also have the likes of Dallas Smith, Terri Clark, The Road Hammers, The Reklaws, Megan Patrick and Gord Bamford performing in Craven July 11-14 along with the likes of Tim McGraw, Travis Tritt and Jake Owen.”
Krochak notes the progression of female country artists by staging a full day of female talent in Calgary, August 16-18 with the first day featuring Meghan Patrick, Lindsay Ell, Tanya Tucker and Miranda Lambert providing a unique lineup. “This makes such a statement, it represents the past, present and future of women in Country Music,” enthused Krochak.
For further information on tickets and scheduling, please link to https://www.countrythunder.com