By Keith Sharp
Havelock Country Jamboree marketing manager Jennifer Goheen knows that no matter how many new country music festivals spring up each year, the four-day festival staged just east of Peterborough Ontario during the third weekend of August is a well established favourite with a loyal clientele who plan their year around each event.
“We are aware of other festivals and we encourage people to support them but I think we retain a loyalty to our event,” Goheen noted. “Once you come here and have a feeling about the event, people have a tendancy to come back.”
Entering its 28th year, Haveock Country Jamboree, staged this year August 17-18-19-20 at the site’s 500 acre camping facility boasts a lineup of established Canadian stars as well as a group of new comers and a selection of key international performers.
Also scheduled this year is the second two-day Haverock Revival to be stage July 7-8 at the same venue and features a number of classic Canadian rock stars as well as a special Rock-Pack ensemble which includes Toto lead vocalist Bobby Kimball, ex-Foreigner frontman Lou Gramm, ex Santana lead singer Gregg Rolie, former Journey frontman Steve Augeri and ex Asia lead singer John Payne who’s band also backs up everyone else on stage.
Goheen admits that other major festivals may have bigger names but the 25 artists who will grace Haverock’s twin stages reflect who is new and who is established in domestic country music circles.
“We have crowd favourites like The Good Brothers, Russell De Carle (Prairie Oyster) George Canyon and Patricia Conroy along with exciting new talent like Meghan Patrick and The Dead South, then we have artists like Lee Bryce and Justin Moore who we have been trying to get for ages and bands like Blackjack Billy,” enthused Goheen. “I think everyone of our acts was selected for a different reason.”
With 27 years of experience under their collective belts, it’s just a foregone conclusion that Havelock will provide a great talent lineup yet it’s the goodwill feeling amongst the campers which makes this event so special. “We have people planning for this event months in advance,” Goheen explained. We are at a point where we can provide specific experience zones within the festival. There are campers who want quiet compound areas where they can sit and watch the show without having people standing up in front of them and then there are people who want to stand up close to the stage and dance, we try to create a unique experience for everyone.”
Goheen says the Havelock staff take pride in treating their artists like family, providing home cooked meals and making sure everyone is taken care of. “We know how hard it is for some of these people to travel up here so we want their experience to be as pleasant as possible. It’s great when they leave here and go and tell their fellow musicians what a great time they had. It just makes it easier for us to secure talent in the future.”
Ed Leslie, the owner and founder of Havelock, indulged in his love of classic rock when he launched the Haverock Revival last year, and although the debut festival was dogged by inclement weather, Year Two has been set with the likes of Honeymoon Suite, Colin James, and 54-40 complemented by several classic rock bands like Teenage Head, David Wilcox, Goddo, Crowbar, Wednesday and even Mike McKenna puts in an appearance with his current band; The Slidwinder Blues Band.
U.S content comes in the form of The Kentucky Headhunters and a Blood Sweat And Tears band lead by former American Idol contestant, Bo Bice but this year’s big attraction is The Rock Pack lineup organized by former Asia frontman John Payne. Not only will he be singing Asia classics like “Only Time Will Tell” and “Heat Of The Moment” but his band will also support Rolie, Gramm, Kimball and Augeri as they run through a gamut of Foreigner, Toto, Santana and Journey hits.
“It’s going to be two hours of hit after hit,” bubbled Goheen. “Everybody in the audience will know every single song.”
Goheen concedes that the festival lineup is based on owner Ed Leslie’s 70’s favourites but notes there is still a great fan interest in Canadian classic rock. “When we announced that Goddo was playing, ticket sales really took off” she said.
Four-Day passes for the Havelock Country Jamboree , including camping for four nights, tops out at $300 per person (there are advance discounts), $180 for youth and children nine years and younger are free. There are one-day passes available for $160 which don’t include camping.A limited number of preferred tickets are available for $450.
Tickets for the two-day Haverock Revival are available at $245 for both days and $180 for a day pass – camping fees extra.