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Some local Chestermere residents are working to start a brand-new summer country music festival in the city this July.
“I was looking for something different to bring to town,” said festival organizer Alex Halat.
They are planning an approximately 8,500-person country music festival for July 21.
“It actually works in conjunction with the water festival, its actually the day before.
“It’s going to be an exciting weekend for the town if it does go through,” he said.
Most of Halat and the other organizers experience has been in organizing sports events. Despite their inexperience, things have been going well.
“It’s actually been pretty good,” he said.
They have had help from Lesley Plumley from Magical Moments Event Planning.
“She’s been a key part of all this,” said Halat.
With the music festival, they wanted to target a different demographic.
“Not everybody’s in to sports,” said Halat.
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Halat said that Chestermere has the space to easily host a festival of this size.
“We have the amenities,” he said, “we’re sitting on 21 acres of land right in the middle of our town that is virtually unused 70 per cent of the time.”
The Festival will be located on the baseball field south of the recreation centre.
“We figure let’s take advantage of the land in front of us and try to create something great,” said Halat.
Through the festival, Halat is hoping to both bring the community together and stimulate Chestermere’s economy.
“Its more or less just to put Chestermere on the map again,” he said.
“Obviously try to stimulate the local economy in terms of the restaurants, the bars the hotel and the coffee shops.
“It’s a small event, it’s only 8,500 people so it’s not a huge event but for our town it’s a massive influx of revenue for the local businesses,” said Halat.
He also hopes to bring people together to have a good time, especially in light og the overabundance of negative social media chatter about Chestermere.
“Constantly you see on social media…all the negative, negative posts,” he said, “It’s nice to throw in something positive every now and then.”
Planning and work for the festival has been ongoing for the past seven months.
As he has been having conversations with residents about the festival the responses have been overwhelmingly positive.
“Anything new people are going to get excited,” he said.
The organizers are taking care to make sure that they bring together an excellent final product, something people will want to see come back as an annual summer event.
To comply with Alberta Gaming and Liquor Guidelines the festival will be adult only.
They are looking at ways to minimize the effect of an influx of 8,500 on the roads and parking in Chestermere.
They will also be finishing the concert by 10 p.m.to ensure their compliance with the city’s noise bylaws.
“We’ve got to be sensitive to the people in the community,” said Halat.
Organizers have already begun working with the recreation centre and Rocky View County to get the necessary approvals for the event.
Halat presented the festival plans to Chestermere City Council at the Jan. 16 meeting.
With the presentation to Chestermere council they are just waiting for the final approvals from the city so that they can start booking musicians to the festival.
They had been hoping to book artists sooner since some of the bigger names are starting to be booked up for the summer.
“The downfall is a lot of the big names have already been booked in the last three or four months to other concerts right around North America,” he said.
They are looking to book a mixture of big names in country music and local talent.
They haven’t signed any contracts or confirmed any artists yet but are looking at some well-known names.
“You’ve got local talent like Paul Brandt,” he said, “There’s some of them that we’re going to try to target.”
The have also been looking at American country stars.
“We’ve looked at the…Garth Brooks of the world,” said Halat who concedes that there are budgetary factors with booking artists as well.
Organizers said that a portion of the proceeds from the festival will be donated back to Charities in Chestermere and the Calgary region.
“It’s another fun way to do an event and give back to groups locally in Calgary and surrounding area,” said Halat.
In addition to the music festival, organizers are also looking to host a pond hockey tournament in December 2017.