Russel DeCarle

Russel DeCarle

Ol’ MacDonald’s music festival draws crowds despite rain showers

People from far and wide flocked to the Ol' MacDonald's campgrounds to listen to some of their favourite musicians over the past weekend.

People from far and wide flocked to the Ol’ MacDonald’s campgrounds to listen to some of their favourite musicians over the past weekend, Friday–Saturday, Sept. 9–11.

“This was the last weekend for Ol’ MacDonald’s,” said Kevin MacDonald, co-owner of the business, along with his wife Traci and mom Jean. “The festival was once again a great success. We couldn’t be more pleased as this was only our second year on our own.”

According to MacDonald, the festival was well attended from start to finish. MacDonald said attendance would have been higher if the weather had held up. About 700 people attended the three-day event.

Explaining why he chose to bring Prairie Oyster as one of the main acts, MacDonald said, “Prairie Oyster was one of my favorite bands back in the ’90s.”

“But I was also a big fan of George Fox, who was our Friday night headliner,” he added. “(He) put on an amazing show too. I try and pick bands that I used to listen to a lot while I was on the road back and forth from drilling rigs for 23 years.”

It was easy to see how many people enjoyed the lineup that MacDonald had carefully selected, which included Shane Chisolm, Del Barber and George Fox to John Carlyle, Tanya Ryan and Russel DeCarle.

Recalling his past experience, MacDonald said that he spent a lot of time listening to CDs and it was the favourite part of his day.

“Also, since our festival is the same weekend as the CCMA awards, I have to pick headliners that are not only past the awards show part of their career, but are also reasonably priced,” explained MacDonald. “We also brought in lots of upcomers, who are not yet attending the awards show.”

MacDonald said that a good friend of his, Mr. Jim King, is the MC at the Coke Stage at the Calgary Stampede.

“He helps us pick bands that he knows from there as well,” said MacDonald. “He has also been a DJ for many years, and is a big help to mom and I when picking out bands.”

According to MacDonald, fall is their downtime when he takes Traci and his mom to travel around a bit and check out potential bands.

“The folks at CFCW are also a big help,” explained MacDonald. “My dad and Sam, helped me to get Gary Fjellgaard for next year. He met him on a beach in Mexico or Costa Rica a few years back.”

MacDonald added that this year it looked as if the festival will actually pay for itself. “These bands are very expensive, some of them. We are very happy to be breaking even, as the past two years have cost us quite a bit in losses,” added MacDonald. “We knew that going in to this little venture would cost us money for a few years, but we were prepared for that.”

In the future, however, the MacDonalds are hoping to turn a profit, and use those funds to help at the park to upgrade playgrounds, showers, bathrooms and other facilities.

“We would like to give a big thanks to all the local folks who came out this year and supported us,” said MacDonald. “It was really nice to see some familiar faces. We hope they enjoyed it, and will come back next year.”

The MacDonalds also thanked Pete Hicks, Stella Stevens, Melissa MacGregor and everyone else at the CFCW radio station who helped them make the festival a success.