Rockin River Fest is a large Canadian country festival that, for years, took place in Mission, just outside of Vancouver. However, last year Kenny Hess, the owner of the festival, moved it to Merrit, which is a town near the interior of British Columbia. Kenny moved Rockin' River to Merritt because Merritt has the grounds that used to hold an old Country festival called Merritt Mountain Music Festival, otherwise known as Mountain Fest by many. Mountain Fest was, in it's time, the largest Country Music festival in North America, at times drawing a couple hundred thousand people. So, when Kenny wanted to expand, going to Merritt, and using the old Mountain Fest Grounds was a natural decision.
I had the fortune of playing Rockin River last year as well, with prime slots on the Lady Antebellum and Nitty Gritty band Nights, playing to between 6- 8,000 people each night, it was an absolute blast. And this year should be no exception. A large reason why I love Rockin' River is how friendly all the staff are, as well as how involved Kenny is in the day to day running's of his festival.
A lot of festival owners are usually not on the grounds when their festivals are running, or if they are, they are mostly in the office. But Kenny is not only on the grounds, but literally in the dirt helping the crew set things up, or helping a band load in. I remember seeing him help carry a bunch of heavy boxes full of equipment onto the main stage for one of the bands. And all the while you can see that he adores it. This sort of passion is infectious, and really gives the festival a great energy