By Karen Uildersma
At a time during the summer when tourism is peaking at scenic Manitoulin Island, along comes the Manitoulin Country Music Fest which engorges another 10,000 visitors into Rainbow Country. And like all previous festivals at the Flat Rock Entertainment Centre, the three-day event which ran Thursday August 9th until Saturday August 11th was a triumphant success.
Mixing Canadian legends like Carrol Baker, George Canyon and Beverley Mahood with established U.S stars like `Billy Ray Cyrus and Lee Brice and domestic talent like River Town Saints, Aaron Goodvin, Emerson Drive and Andrew Hyatt the festival also shines the spotlight on up and coming talent such as Dan Davidson, Dani Strong and Radio 103 contest winner Kyle Dunn.
Maritimer George Canyon was the hands down star of Thursday’s opening night which also featured Emerson Drive and new artist Genevieve Fisher while Mr ‘Achy Breaky Heart’, Billy Ray Cyrus wowed his audience on Friday, capably supported by Carroll Baker, who still showed she had amazing vocal chops, plus a strong support cast featuring Aaron Goodvin, Beverley Mahood and Brea Lawrenson.
U.S super star Lee Brice then closed down the festival Saturday with a solid lineup featuring the always entertaining Emerson Drive, Dan Davidson, Andrew Hyatt, Dani Strong, Leaving Thomas and promising newcomer Kyle Dunn.
There maybe more high profile Country Music Festivals in Canada but the Manitoulin Country Music Fest continues to shine by combining major names with promising young talent, executed amongst the pristine setting of Manitoulin Island.