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Wildfires affect country music festival attendance

Last Updated Aug 12, 2017 at 10:00 am PDT

Brett Kissel performs at the 2017 Rockin' River Fest. (Courtesy Rockin' River Fest via Twitter)

The Rockin' River Fest didn't lose any significant money, but attendance was down because of wildfire smoke

MERRITT (NEWS 1130) – As the Shambhala Music Festival prepares for a potential evacuation because of wildfire risk, the man behind last weekend’s Rockin’ River Fest is grateful that event wasn’t smoked out.

The annual country music festival in Merritt didn’t break any attendance records this year, and promoter Kenny Hess admits many fans chose to stay away because of all the smoke.

“We didn’t get the numbers that we had anticipated and again, a lot of that has to do with the threat of fire. I know everybody was a little scared and so they thought, well, we won’t take that risk. It definitely cut into our anticipated sales.”

He says no significant money was lost.

“Everybody’s paid already. The ownership group is a really good group. They knew going in that there was going to be some losses,” he says.

Hess is expecting more country music fans to show up next summer, as ticket sales have already been strong for 2018.

“We’ve got the biggest country star that there is. Nobody sells more tickets than Eric Church and we’ve got him coming next year, so we’re very, very excited about that.”

“God willing we don’t have another fire, we’ll do very well.”