With the demise this year of the Merritt Mountain Music Festival, many disappointed country music fans from Langley are getting psyched about next weekend's Rockin' River Music Festival in Mission.
The three-day festival, held at the Mission Raceway Park, features country music greats such as Dwight Yoakam and George Canyon, as well as a selection of B.C.'s best country talents - including Langley's own Aaron Pritchett and Karen Lee Batten.
"Yoakam brings one of country music's biggest names to Rockin' River," said Rockin' River organizer Kenny Hess, who founded the event.
"This year's Rockin' River is bigger and better than any of its previous years."
Festival organizers were thrilled to announce that a month before receiving one of country music's most-prestigious honours, Yoakam - a country legend - will play music festival.
Yoakam will be presented the Country Music Association's Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award on Sept. 24 in Nashville, Tenn., but before that going to be at the 2012 Rockin' Riverfest.
The Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award:
Yoakam captured the imagination of traditionalists and new listeners alike by giving hillbilly music a modern twist.
Born in Kentucky, but based in Los Angeles, Yoakam debuted with a twangy cover of Johnny Horton's Honky Tonk Man, which led him to the ACM's 1986 top new male vocalist trophy.
In all, Yoakam landed 14 Top 10 hits - some he wrote (I Sang Dixie) and others he revived (Elvis Presley's Little Sister).
Along with acclaimed albums and music videos, Yoakam proudly partnered with Buck Owens on the endearing 1988 duet, Streets of Bakersfield. Yoakam remains active in music and film.
Not only is Hess excited about the likes of Yoakam and Canyon performing at this year's show. He explained that the festival is expanding from a two- to three-night-long event for the first time in its four-year history.
That means the fun starts "rockin'" on Thursday.
The itinerary is still being worked out for exact times, but Thursday, Aug. 9 will feature Brent Lee, Tyler Whelan, along with Langley's Karen Lee Batten, and Aaron Pritchett.
Friday, Aug. 10: Chris Buck Band, Todd Richard, The Higgins, Victoria Banks, Kenny Hess, Dwight Yoakam, and Randy Bachman.
Saturday, Aug. 11: Stacey McKitrick, Shane Chisholm, The Matin‚e, Ridley Bent, One More Girl, George Canyon, and Blue Rodeo.
The raceway park is at 32670 Dyke Rd. And for other information, people can also call the Rockin' River Hotline at 604-733-2235.
Other well-known country music names on the Rockin' River billboard include Blue Rodeo, Randy Bachman, Ridley Bent, and The Higgins.
The festival runs Thursday through Sunday, Aug. 9 to 11, with Pritchett and Batten on stage Thursday night.
A full lineup of acts, information about camping, and ticket information are available online at rockinriverfest.com. Tickets are also available at select London Drugs and Lordcos.