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Country Thunder set to rock Saskatchewan despite extreme heat

Saskatchewan’s biggest music festival is nearly upon us as Country Thunder will take over the Craven valley in just a few hours.

This year’s lineup includes artists like Dallas Smith, Josh Ross, Luke Combs and in a departure from the country genre, Nickelback.

The decision to expand more into the rock space is something Country Thunder CEO Troy Vollhoffer said could be a preview of things to come over the next few years.

“We’re going in that direction,” he said talking about the rock genre. “It’s proven right now that the same person who listens to country listens to classic rock. And I’m not calling Nickelback classic because they are definitely current but it’s exciting.

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“It’s a little twist that we’re trying to change things up a little bit and make it exciting.”

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While the music kicks off Friday, camping for those looking to get an early start on the party has opened up.

Mike Dacey is one of those fans ready to get started. He started going to Country Thunder back in 1983 with his dad.

“I have been coming ever since except for a couple of years in the 90s when I had kids,” he said. “I don’t party as hard anymore as I’m getting older now but it will still be a getting to watch other people do it.”

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Nicole Benton is a relative newcomer to Craven as this year marks her fourth trip out.

“I am really looking forward to Luke Combs,” Benton said. “We come for the music and the party, and we have made lots of friends through the years.”

As for how the sites are looking? Saskatchewan has been no stranger to heavy rainfall over the last month, but with the sun finally appearing this week, things seem to be drying up.

“We’ve got an amazing site crew that has worked with all kinds of weather and it has been raining but luckily the sun has dried most of that up and they’ve got it looking really great,” Megan Benoit, the Country Thunder digital manager said. “They’ve been working on the campgrounds and main street in the festival bowl so everything is looking very green.”

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With the warm temperatures, organizers are reminding fans to come prepared with sunscreen, a hat and lots of extra water.

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