CAVENDISH, P.E.I. — They may be known as country concerts, but attendees at the Cavendish Beach Music Festival got a pop treat when singer songwriter Shawn Mendes took the venue by storm Monday night.
"He is pure talent. He can do a cover of a song on a $300 camera and sound better than anyone," said Brandon Adams, who attended the concert with his girlfriend Rebecca Drummond and friend Paige Rankin.
"Not everybody likes country, so I think having him here has opened the event up to a new audience. Getting more performers to the Island is always a good thing," said Rankin. "I love Shawn Mendes. It's a new fandom, and I love his new album and his old songs."
Drummond has been a fan of Mendes since his career began.
"Literally since the beginning. I found his first album very relatable,’’ Drummond said. “I could find that one thing in every song. Not to mention he's young and he's Canadian which is great.
“I know having him at the concerts has been contentious, but you know what, it's not called the Cavendish Country Concerts. Country isn't in the title. So, I think it's great that he's here."
Chelsea Gotell agreed.
"Incorporating different music genres is great. It's allowed the event to host a bigger variety of people. It's also certainly opened it up to the younger generation. It's made it more family friendly," Gotell said, motioning to her daughters, Charleigh and Drew.
Gotell's daughters and their friends, Hayden MacPherson and Lucy Burridge, eagerly awaited the appearance of Mendes, marking their first concert experience.
This year, a fourth day was added to the Cavendish Beach Music Festival concert series, which celebrated its 10th anniversary.
The annual festival draws crowds of about 60,000 people from all over the Maritimes, other parts of Canada and the United States.
It has featured artists like Luke Bryan, Zac Brown Band, Keith Urban, Blake Shelton, Reba McEntire and Kenny Chesney.