Sask. musicians blast City of Regina online over timing of Garth Brooks shows, Folk Festival

Some musicians are expressing concern about having to compete with country music superstar Garth Brooks in Regina.

The Regina Folk Festival is holding its 50th anniversary show on the weekend of Aug. 9 to 11. Brooks is scheduled to play two shows at Regina’s Mosaic Stadium Aug. 9 and 10.

The Folk Festival runs throughout the day at Victoria Park downtown, about a dozen blocks away from Mosaic Stadium.

Saskatchewan musician Colter Wall takes the Folk Fest stage that Saturday night.

Wall wrote on Twitter that he won’t get too heated about Garth Brooks being the same weekend but “The City of Regina is blatantly f–cking over Folk Fest this year by having him play during the same weekend.” 

City of Regina officials said they are not involved in the booking process at all and the concert date was chosen by Brooks. A spokesperson stated the city is confident there is an audience for both concerts. 


Wall isn’t the only musician to take to social media

Saskatchewan’s Joel Henderson, also known as Poor Nameless Boy, wrote that the Regina Folk Festival was championing Canadian music throughout the year. 

The Dead South, who play the Folk Fest that Friday, posted that “It’s great that Garth is coming to Regina but this definitely f–ks over Regina Folk Fest.” 

Lead singer Nate Wilts told CBC he was happy to hear Brooks was coming at first. 

Wilts said both events are great, but he worries about Folk Fest losing ticket sales to Brooks. 

“I found out it was the same weekend as the Folk Fest and right away you kind of bite your lip,” he said. “When they’re at the same time people have to pick and choose and you might see declines at certain spots. That’s never a good thing.”

Despite his concerns, Wilts said he’s happy to see a big name come to the city and is hoping for the best for the festival’s 50th anniversary.

“I am quite excited about the lineup personally and I just can’t wait to go experience a nice weekend at the Regina Folk Festival and I hope that that’s accompanied with a lot of other great people who are super excited about it and want to see it flourish and continue to grow,” he said.

Moose Jaw performer Megan Nash said she hopes Brooks’ concert encourages people to check out Folk Fest, by bringing them into the city on the weekend. 

“When you live two hours from the city you like to make a day of it,” she said. “Hopefully people can make the most of their time and try something new.”

Nash said she also hopes people take advantage of the free day programming, even if they are going to Brooks that night. 

‘We have confidence’ says Folk Fest organizer

On May 29, Sandra Butel, artistic director and CEO of the Regina Folk Festival, said she isn’t concerned about the country music star playing at the same time as the festival. 

“We really have confidence that there will be enough people at our show, and there will be enough people at the Garth Brooks show, and it’ll just be a fantastic weekend of music in Regina,” she told CBC on May 29.

Stage 1 at the Regina Folk Festival in 2016. The festival is held annually at Victoria Park in Regina. (CBC)

The Regina Folk Festival started in 1969 and has a lineup of more than 20 artists to mark the anniversary. 

Butel told CBC the Brooks announcement wasn’t a surprise as she had been in talks with Evraz Place and heard rumours for awhile.

Now, she said she is working with Evraz Place to shine the spotlight on the Regina music scene. 

“[We] really see this as a great opportunity to put Regina on the map as a music city,” Butel told CBC. “And you don’t get to be 50 years old without having a lot of support in the community.”

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