Hillbilly Highway – Hitting the Highway to Dauphin


by Sheldon Birnie

Last week, my adventure to Calgary to cover Sled Island took a turn for the worst. Southern Alberta was hit with an unprecedented disaster that forced the cancellation of the bulk of the festival (and all my coverage), as well as the evacuation of up to 100,000. My heart goes out to all the folks who are still out work and house or home. The damage is, quite frankly, staggering. But the people and local governments in the area are doing all they can to get back to normal in the face of calamity.

I’m hoping that my bad luck with weather and festivals does not hold any further, as I prepare today to hit the Highway to Dauphin Countryfest early tomorrow morning. Vehicle is secured, camping gear prepared, and press pass waiting at the gate. It’s gonna be a wild one, friends.

As I mentioned earlier this month, Dauphin Countryfest is Canada’s longest running country music festival.

The line-up this year includes big names like Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, and Dierks Bentley. But it also includes a staggering amount of amazing alternative country and local talent. Hayes Carll (a favourite of mine, who we’ve got a feature on right here), Corb Lund, Shooter Jennings, and Justin Townes Earle are sure to please fans of gritty country music and sharp-as-nails songwriting. The list of locals is equally impressive, with the Sweet Alibi, F-Holes, our buddy the Reverend Rambler, and Del Barber.

I’ve got some interviews lined up with some of the best local talent hitting the stages, and look forward to the performances from the headliners. I’m also looking forward to getting into some beers with my pals the Reverend and Bad Country and catching up with Blake Berglund, who I had a long conversation about country music with earlier this month that ended all too early.

I’m also looking forward to checkin’ in on some of the legendary partying I hear goes down in the campgrounds… Could be fun? I’ll let you know next week, with an extra long installment of the Highway, breaking down the best shows and including some of my conversations with the artists. Until then, keep your boots dry, folks!

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