ROBIN BOOKER/BRANDON SUN
A group of friends from Brandon sit under a tarp structure they built at Rockin’ the Fields of Minnedosa on Friday.
MINNEDOSA — The hills overlooking Minnedosa Lake were getting a light rain as crews set up the stages for Rockin’ the Fields of Minnedosa on Friday afternoon.
A group of people seek shelter from light rain at Rockin’ the Fields of Minnedosa on Friday evening. (ROBIN BOOKER/BRANDON SUN)
Work crews set up the main stage at Rockin’ the Fields of Minnedosa on Friday. (ROBIN BOOKER/BRANDON SUN)
But the rain didn’t dampen the spirits of the festival-goers, many of whom have come to the annual event every year since it began.
Glen Birnie of Riding Mountain, who has come to the festival every year, said he likes the music, but it’s the people that keep him coming back every year.
"It’s always great, everyone is easy going — I’ve never had a problem," said Birnie. "I have a lot of good friends here — sometimes it seems like I know most of the people. As the years go by, it becomes more and more like a reunion."
Rockin’ the Fields is organized by 11 board members and there are 160 members in the non-profit co-operative.
Chris Kemp, president of the Rockin’ the Fields board of directors, said the event usually attracts around 1,500 people per day and that advanced tickets and attendance were up compared to the previous couple years.
"The festival started back in 1996 as a classic rock festival," Kemp said. "But now it’s moving more towards a more general music festival because we’re starting to get more diverse acts here — there is even a country group playing this year."
This is the ninth year Allen Boles, 23, of Brandon has attended the festival. He comes up with around 20 of his friends a day early and sets up a tarp structure, then puts carpet in it and adds couches that he and his friends use throughout the weekend.
"It’s an amazing time. It’s the one thing we look forward to all year. Many of us don’t get to see much of each other throughout the year, mostly because of work. But this is the one thing a year we all take off," Boles said.
Bev Patterson of Hamiota has come to every festival, in its many variations at the site, since 1997.
"It’s a real blast — the music is secondary to the people. Lots of the people here I only ever see here at the festival, and it’s always good times when we get together," Patterson said.
Some of the performers at the festival include The Northern Pikes, 4 Hole Punch, Kenny Shields and Streetheart, Take With Audio, Effect and Cause, The Bad Marleys, The Wheat Monkeys, Red Seed, Default, Finger Eleven, Shattered, SAGA, The Junk, Barry G Player and Dag Nabbit.
Kemp said there are more than 200 volunteers helping out throughout the weekend.
"This thing survived because of the volunteers. The RM of Minto and the Town of Minnedosa have also been great," Kemp said.
There is also a volleyball tournament and a jam session on Sunday afternoon that will include some of the festivals performers.
Tickets are available at the gate and, as of Friday night, there were still camping passes available.
For more information, go to rockinthefields.ca/index.htm.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 4, 2012