One of the largest three-day music festivals in Ontario kicks off tonight in Sarnia and it’s already shaping up to be a record weekend, says Mark Perrin.
“Last year we had just over 10,000, and we’ve already surpassed that,” said Bluewater Borderfest’s organizer, noting fans coming from all over the world for the concert series that runs Thursday through Saturday at Centennial Park. “Anytime you can see a little bit of growth, that’s key.
“Everything is looking really good,” he added Thursday as country music star Justin Moore’s crew took the stage for sound check. “We feel like we’re ahead of the game this year.”
Setup began earlier this week, and some 200 volunteers will be on hand to help pull off the event, said Perrin. That includes dozens of members of local service clubs and community groups who will benefit from the event’s success.
“We’re able to donate back to the community,” said Perrin. “So it works out great for everyone.”
Perrin, who also serves as Tourism Sarnia-Lambton’s executive director, said fans from as far as the U.K. will be on hand for the event, as well as ticket holders from eight Canadian provinces and 24 U.S. states.
“I’d say at least 10% of the crowds will be from the U.S., which is great,” said Perrin. “We haven’t had since before COVID-19.”
General admission tickets are still available for all three nights, including a few VIP tickets for tonight’s concert, Perrin said; though VIP tickets for Friday and Saturday are already sold out.
Thursday’s country music lineup includes U.S. county hitmaker Justin Moore, and Canadian country music star Tim Hicks, along with Canadian-born and Nashville-based MacKenzie Porter, and Canadian country music disc jockey DJ Johnny Rivex.
Friday night is headlined by City and Colour, along with The Sheep Dogs, Windsor-based The Blue Stones, and local favourites The Down River Band.
Saturday’s lineup includes headliner Daughtry, followed by Theory of a Deadman, Pop Evil and The Bad Men Association.
“We strive to be unique by bringing new bands to the region that have not played in the area in decades, and some have never played in our market before, while also being one of the most inclusive and affordable music festivals in Canada,” chair Brian McNair said earlier this year, pointing to the festival’s economic impact since its launch in 2017. “The committee takes pride in producing a world class entertainment experience for thousands of fans and visitors, while generating hundreds of thousands of dollars in economic spinoffs for Sarnia-Lambton businesses and community organizations.”
For more information, including tickets, visit bluewaterborderfest.com