Regina welcomes rite of summer by unveiling Country Thunder Saskatchewan Week

“We’re very proud to be from Regina. It’s great to come home every year and celebrate Saskatchewan and Regina and all the good things that go along with it.”

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The City of Regina is rolling out the red carpet for a valued neighbour.

Mayor Sandra Masters announced Monday that July 10-16 has been named Country Thunder Saskatchewan Week in recognition of a deep-rooted summer tradition.

“Regina’s love for Country Thunder is a testament to our community’s spirit and passion for music,” Masters said in a prepared statement. “For decades, this has been a festival that folks eagerly anticipate every year. The founders and main organizers, whose roots are from Regina, have created an event that not only draws some of the biggest names in country music but also brings together friends, families, and visitors from near and far.

“This year’s lineup is nothing short of spectacular, promising unforgettable performances and shared moments that will make summer 2024 truly special.”

Nickelback rocks the stage Saturday night, along with Josh Ross, Lonestar, Meghan Patrick, and Tim & The Glory Boys.

Sunday’s grand finale is highlighted by one of the biggest country stars on the planet in Combs, who’s joined by Gary Allan, Shenandoah, and Jake Worthington.

“We have a great lineup,” Country Thunder president Troy Vollhoffer said during Monday’s announcement at city hall. “We’re very proud to be from Regina. I lived four blocks down the road from here and it’s great to come home every year and celebrate Saskatchewan and Regina and all the good things that go along with it.”

Mayor Sandra Masters presents a framed certificate to Country Thunder president Troy Vollhoffer.Photo by KAYLE NEIS Kayle Neis /Regina Leader-Post

Craven has been hosting music festivals for 41 years, beginning with Big Valley Jamboree in 1983 and switching to Rock ‘N The Valley in 2000. Vollhoffer took over in 2005 and relaunched the festival as Craven Country Jamboree before completing the transition to Country Thunder in 2016.

Along with attracting the biggest names in country music, Country Thunder has grown into a huge North American brand that also includes festivals in Arizona, Wisconsin, Calgary, Tennessee, and Florida.

Although it’s headquartered in Nashville, Country Thunder is run by virtually the same core group from Saskatchewan that was recruited by Vollhoffer many years ago.

Craven has attracted over one million fans since 2005 and is also “a significant economic driver for Regina, spending approximately $3 million annually within the city and contributing to its economic health through increased hotel stays, restaurant visits, airport traffic, and shopping,” says a media release.

Country Thunder has also dealt with its share of weather extremes over the years, from major storms and flood conditions to sweltering heat. The latter is being forecast this week as the Regina area braces for its first heat wave of the summer.

But Vollhoffer is undaunted.

“We had a festival last weekend in Bristol, Tennessee. It was 95 degrees (Fahrenheit) and that was on concrete,” he said. “So we’re very used to it. I think a lot of entertainers are very used to the heat.

“I would just suggest to enjoy it and, you know, get your suntan on.”

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