“Let’s cheer it on:” The party is on at Country Thunder

With four words, a country fan welcomed Country Thunder back to Saskatchewan.

“Let’s light it up,” the man said Thursday in Craven, where the country music festival has returned after a two-year absence due to COVID-19.

The party actually started on Tuesday as the gates opened and people staked their claim on campsites. The bash continued Wednesday — and definitely eye-opening for a customer from Taber, Alta. who is attending his first Country Thunder.

“This is my first time and after last night wow it’s good,” he said before recounting the events of his first night on the premises.

“(I) went to the beer gardens (and) got my first beer because you are not allowed to go outside the beer gardens with a beer. (I) learned this the hard way. Then I went up there on the dance floor, made a fool of myself – I think – but I had a good time.

“I enjoyed it. I can’t wait for the rest of the weekend. It’s going to be great.”

One of the partygoers at Country Thunder Saskatchewan on July 14, 2022. (Shane Clausing/980 CJME)

This man’s experience was at odds with the advice of the person mentioned above who wanted to heat things up.

“It’s a marathon; it’s not a sprint,” said this man when asked what he would say to Country Thunder newbies. “If you’re sprinting and banging down some quick booze, you’re not going to make it to midnight.”

Debbie and Greg Briere aren’t novices, but they’re not exactly veterans either. This is her second trip to Craven for the festival but her first in 32 years.

“We didn’t have an RV (and) we were busy with our kids,” Debbie said when asked why it had taken them so long to return. “Our kids actually bought us tickets for our Christmas present in 2019, so with COVID it took so long for us to actually be able to come.”

They’re back with some friends who attended the festival with the Brieres all those years ago and have been regulars ever since. They’re all in Craven for the same reason.

“Good music,” Greg said.

“I love Blake Shelton so this is going to be a treat,” Debbie added. “(We look forward to) just being here with friends and having a good time.”

A party-goer made his way to Country Thunder from Kelowna. He said some family friends had been to the festival every year and talked about it so much that he decided to show up too.

He said he’s a big fan of country music, but…

“If you talk about music, I like all music,” he said. “My daughter is an opera singer, so we cover the whole spectrum at home.”

Patrons can see the full spectrum of weather during the festival, from scorching heat to a lightning show. It lived up to the thunder part of its name on Wednesday night as a storm swept through the grounds.

Some campers may have had a harder time than others, given the differences in accommodation that are visible around the campsite.

(Shane Clausing/980 CJME)

“It was a bit tight for a while because the trailer started to sway a bit with the wind and stuff,” said one man. “It wasn’t too terrible. But it was raining pretty hard.”

The Taber drinker said he’s prepared for any weather, including the heat (“Schnack, water, schnapps, water, schnapps, water. That’s the plan,” he said) and whatever else Mother Nature throws at her.

He expects to be with Country Thunder through the end of Sunday.

“I intend to stay sober. That’s a lie,” he said. “I’ll do them. Don’t worry. I’ll be there. I may not remember it, but it will be a good time.”

— With files by Shane Clausing of 980 CJME

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.