Cavendish Beach Music Festival over for another year

Mitch MacDonald
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Country star Kenny Chesney performs in front of a massive crowd at the Cavendish Beach Music Festival Saturday night.

CAVENDISH - From the opening notes of their hit song Goodbye Earl to the encore, the Dixie Chicks had an engaged audience singing and clapping along to provide a fitting end to the fifth annual Cavendish Beach Music Festival here Sunday night.

The group's performance to close out the festival brought an end to three days of sizzling temperatures, loud music and an over-abundance of cowboy hats in the site's makeshift community.

The multiple Grammy award winning group's performance was another testament to the reputation of the festival, which also included headliners Dwight Yoakam on Friday and Kenny Chesney's record breaking performance Saturday.

It was also one of only three shows the group will be playing this summer.

"Front row for the Dixie Chicks! Best night of my whole life!," said one Twitter user.

While Sunday was the final headline performance, the crowd  Chesney drew Saturday was possibly the biggest in the festival's five year history and seemed to be rivalled only by the numbers for Taylor Swift's 2010 performance.

Organizers were unable Sunday to confirm attendance numbers from the weekend.

However, the massive crowd Saturday, estimated in excess of 35,000, made it nearly impossible to maneuver around the festival site during Chesney's performance.

Chesney himself seemed genuine when he said the Cavendish crowd was one of his best audiences he's performed for.

"He had a smile from ear to ear throughout the whole show," said one concert-goer who had previously seen Chesney perform. "He seemed to be really into the audience."

During the song Pirate Flag, which features lyrics about an "island girl," Chesney noted it was his "first time on this Island."

"If this is the way it is, it won't be the last time," he said to a roaring applause.

The country singer made one audience member's night by bringing her onstage to sing "You and Tequila" and also signed some t-shirts from the stage after his encore.

As of early Sunday evening, an RCMP spokesperson said the weekend had been going smoothly from their standpoint.

The biggest challenge facing police was moving traffic in and out of the site, especially at the end of each night, said the spokesperson.

With only one road leading to the festival site, RCMP released a warning saying some roads would be closed to through traffic in the immediate hours following the concerts.

The high temperatures of the weekend also prompted RCMP to remind concert-goers to stay safe by keeping hydrated and cool.

Following a cold and damp beginning to summer, as well as rain forcing a headline act cancellation at the inaugural Big Red Music Festival last week, this past weekend's weather seemed almost too good.

The first two days saw temperatures hovering around the 30 degree mark, including Friday's record breaking heat.

The heat cooled off slightly Sunday, although the site was lucky enough to miss some heavy rainfall that struck other areas of the province.

RCMP said they could not comment on the size of the crowd, and added that any problems encountered were a "reality of the success" of the festival.

It seemed most fans had given their stamp of approval for the weekend, with concert-goers abuzz on Facebook and Twitter during the three days.

Businesses in the area were also bustling while campsites had no vacancies.

Many of the main stage acts praised the audience's engagement and the festival itself.

Canadian country legend Michelle Wright gave her props to the festival and said "coming back to the Island is always awesome."

The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame inductee said she hadn't heard of the festival before she was asked to be a part of this year's lineup.

When Wright asked for some more information from organizers, it didn't take long for them to convince her.

"They told me about it and I said 'heck yeah sign me up'," Wright said during an interview with The Guardian. "From what I can tell it certainly seems like it's top notch, the great big stage and the nice sound…. It's nice when they have big screen TVs for the audience, sometimes it can feel so distant if you don't have that."

Apart from the three headliners, the festival saw nearly 40 different performers and bands entertain over the three days on as many different stages.


Organizations: Dixie Chicks, RCMP

Geographic location: Country Music Hall

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Recent comments

  • Lonna Bernier
    September 22, 2013 - 17:10

    did anyone ever claim the 50/50 draw for Sat July 7th Cavendish Beach Music festival

  • not the same
    August 14, 2013 - 05:33

    The best outdoor country music festival in Canada is Big Valley Jamboree in Saskatchewan. This is small time compared to out West and I'm from N.S!!

    July 08, 2013 - 23:56

    I had no interest in any of the acts, or the crowds, so, you know what i did? I found something else to do over the weekend. Hopefully for those who went, they had a good time, and that it brought some money into the island economy. Those who I've talked to that went, seemed to think it went pretty well.

  • Angie
    July 08, 2013 - 22:17

    Fantastic show, well organized site, parking & traffic (slow, but safe), nice to have police working to keep everything going smoothly--weather was perfect :-) Thanks!

  • Congrats
    July 08, 2013 - 22:11

    Good for Spudville!! That's 2 successful island music events for the summer so far. It's been a long time coming; you guys deserve it. Sounds like you impressed the performers as well. Here's hoping it continues each year. Congratulations to everyone involved!! - islander from away

  • Reality Cheque
    July 08, 2013 - 22:06

    I'd sooner be checked at the gate and know a crazy with a bomb in a pot isn't coming in than worry about not getting moms meatloaf inside. On that note, the gate security are nicer than any air cops any day of the week. I feel safe there and don't mind the 10$ poutine!

  • Linda Murphy
    July 08, 2013 - 16:30

    Had a terrific time Saturday night. The crowd seemed so friendly and the constables were very helpful to those "who were over- served", as they say in the South. I wonder if anyone mentioned to Mr. Chesney that his T shirt is the color of Island clay....Thanks to all the volunteers...and congratulations to everyone who put so much effort into making the experience so memorable. Linda Murphy Houston, Texas

  • All in all a great Show....
    July 08, 2013 - 15:48

    I think the prices were fair... for example Wendys, chicken nuggets, with fries and a botttle of pop was $7, not much different if you were to go to the store;...AND their advertising board said all proceeeds were going to a local childrens charity or something of the sort. Another vendor's 2 piece fish and chips was $12 and I could barely finish it! It was our first time going to the Festival and I was impressed with how organized everything was...WELL DONE Islanders..we will go again for sure!!

  • Patrick
    July 08, 2013 - 09:19

    As far as the crowd was concerned, I heard there there was 58,000 there for Saturday nights performance. You couldnt move. Ive been to big concerts, and 23000 isnt accurate.

    • KMurphy
      July 08, 2013 - 11:28

      LOL....You can't put 58,000 people at that venue. Nice try.

  • Sid
    July 08, 2013 - 05:33

    To bad Moncton did not have a show this summer like you did over on PEI maybe in ten years from now Moncton should have a show on the hill.

  • island guy
    July 08, 2013 - 03:06

    Where does the guardian get their info. They say in excess of 35,000 were there for sat. Well the site is only able to accomadate 23,000 at the most, and that is coming from the fire marshal.Get your facts straight.

    • Incorrect
      July 08, 2013 - 08:22

      you are incorrect

  • Mike MacDonald
    July 08, 2013 - 01:09

    I heard a online humor that 2014 will be the final year of this festival

  • Empty pockets
    July 07, 2013 - 23:51

    The concert was fantastic again this year! Congratulations to all the organizers! The sad part is all the money hungry people out there gouging the people who are trying to enjoy a nice weekend of great music! For example: $10.00 for a poutine... It's a little ridiculous!

    • How it is...
      July 08, 2013 - 07:37

      That's just a concert for ya. You have to expect it anywhere you go. $5 for a burger, same for pizza, and $7+ for a beer. It's just the way she goes.

    • Freedom grab is worse than a money grab.
      July 08, 2013 - 07:51

      It's worse than ridiculous, it's the main reason I won't attend concerts like this again. I don't mind that a venue charges whatever they want for the products they sell. It's that they prohibit people bringing in those same products for personal use. That's worse than a money grab, it's denying the very freedom of choice so many of these performers sing about! Going through the gates of this venue is worse than getting on a plane after 911; wonder why the Dixie Chicks don't write a song about that loss of freedom?