Country Music not so popular with the kids, it seems

I love Country music! Who’s with me? Anyone? Before moving to Vancouver from Northern Ontario, I imagined that this city must have a great country scene, and I could picture hitting up a local bar every weekend to catch a show. After all, country artists Jessie Farrell and Aaron Pritchett are Vancouverites, and JR FM is one of Canada’s top country music stations. But I quickly realized country music fans are few and far between, and the scene is definitely lacking.
Canadian Country Music Week took place in Vancouver September 10-13. One of the events, Fanfest, is described as “the largest fan appreciation event in Canadian country music.” The free event took place on Granville Street and featured performances and Meet and Greets with the artists. The music was amazing and the artists were great, taking time to talk, pose for pictures, and sign autographs for all who stopped by, including the random homeless wanderers. But in true Vancouver country fashion, the turnout was mediocre. It appeared to be one-third the size of the turnout they had last year in Winnipeg.
Blame it on poor advertising or poor location, but an obvious reason is that there is a serious shortage of country fans in this city.
Jesse Tucker, guitar player for Vancouver country artist Jessie Farrell, performed at both this Fanfest and last year’s in Winnipeg. “Winnipeg's Fanfest was very well attended in a large open space, and in a city that really came out to support Country Music Week. This year’s Fanfest was organized really well in a space that was probably a third the size of last years, with a tenth the advertising, and in a city that is just getting its feet wet with country music.” Jesse continued to say that Vancouver has never been a hub for country music, so it is hard to compare it with Winnipeg. Being a Vancouver country artist, Jesse was actually impressed with the number of people who showed up this year.
The Country Music Awards ceremony was the following day, and many tickets for this event were still for sale right before the show. Just over 6000 fans reportedly showed up to GM Place to support the awards show. For a venue with a seating capacity of just over 20,000, it seemed painfully empty.
Justine Dixon is a country music fan from Burnaby who thinks country music in Vancouver “is starting to get bigger slowly. There is a bigger demand for it out in places like Maple Ridge and Langley, and the only reason is the country bars there! If there were more bars willing to play good country music then the scene would be bigger.” According to Justine, the only bar in Vancouver with country music is The Roxy on Sunday nights. Definitely not prime time.
After witnessing the lacklustre turnout for the CCMA's, I was curious to see how many Capilano University students consider themselves country fans. After speaking with many students, it seems that Cap U students hate the genre. Approximately 12 percent would consider themselves fans…and just liking Taylor Swift doesn’t count. Apparently, I’m in the minority at this school and in this city. I guess I should have moved to Alberta.

By Jessica Nolan

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