Sunfest has all but wrapped its third day, with country superstar Carrie Underwood attracting record numbers of fans to Laketown Ranch.
Trinity Bradshaw bookended Saturday evening’s performances, opening up the main stage and slated to close out the Saloon Stage at midnight. Bradshaw is where east meets west—hailing from Prince Edward Island, where she became the youngest winner of the Summerside Festival Talent Search and twice performed at the East Coast Music Awards before moving to Calgary in 2010. In the last three years she’s been nominated for multiple Alberta Country Music Award, and this year won the ACMA’s Rising Star Award.
It can’t be easy playing after but Bradshaw’s tunes on the Saloon Stage are sure to be the perfect night cap.
From one rising female country singer to another, BC artist Raquel Cole was the second main stage performer this evening her unique style she characterizes as “a lot of country infused with a lil’ sass and soul.” Cole was recently named by CBC as one of 25 Under 25 Canadian Musicians you need to know, and that was abundantly clear by her performances tonight.
Next came 23-year-old Chase Bryant—more talent under 25—the grandson of Jimmy Bryant, a collaborator with Roy Orbison. Bryant counts Jerry Lee Lewis, Conway Twitty and Merle Haggard among his many musical influences, besides his grandfather of course. Earlier this month he told the Citizen music and performing came to him “organically” given his background.
“I just never wanted to do anything different. I just wanted to play music from the time I was a kid. And it just kinda happened that way,” he said.
Opening for the likes of Carrie Underwood is a big deal, although it’s not the first time he’s opened for Nashville royalty, having been one two opening acts on Tim McGraw’s 2015 Shotgun Rider Tour.
And then of course was the much-anticipated Underwood performance, the show that people in the Cowichan Valley have been talking about all year.
Underwood did not disappoint playing a number of songs from her new album, Storyteller, like “The Girl You Think I Am” and “Dirty Laundry.”
An estimated 17,000 fans were in attendance today, a record-breaking number for a Vancouver Island festival.
On tap for tomorrow:
The Flats Stage has line dancing at noon, Adrian Cook (2:30 p.m.), Ajaye Jardine (4 p.m.) and Completely Creedence (11:30 p.m.)
Up at the Saloon Stage you can find Whitford Bronco (5:40 p.m.), Danielle Marie with a double set (7:10 p.m. and 9:10 p.m.) and The Country Line (11:30 p.m.)
And on the main stage: Row of Crowz (4 p.m.), The Country Line (5 p.m.), Quoia (6:20 p.m.), Autumn Hill (7:50 p.m.) and Dierks Bentley (9:50 p.m.)