$1.2 million in upgrades unveiled for Country Thunder grounds in Craven

Instead of mud or dust, country music fans at Country Thunder this July will feel grass beneath their feet as 200,000 feet of sod has been put down in the festival bowl. Photo by Sarah MacMillan.

The name isn’t the only change country music fans will notice when they descend on the Country Thunder festival grounds in Craven this July.

Instead of mud beneath their feet, music goers will be treated to 200,000 feet of fresh sod in the festival bowl, and revamped bathroom facilities, the concert site’s main street featuring 79 brand new permanent toilets and renovated shower facilities, as well as a new food court and eating area.

Country Thunder is investing $1.2 million in upgrades for the grounds.

“I think a lot of fans who have been out here a lot know the site well but they’ve never seen it like this, so we’re pretty happy,” said Gerry Krochak, director of marketing and media relations for the festival.

“I think it’s going to be a great fan experience,” said Troy Vollhoffer, executive producer. “It’s definitely going to enhance the experience.”

Krochak recognized that when the decision was made to change the name of the festival to Country Thunder Saskatchewan from Craven Country Jamboree, the announcement made in October, organizers wanted it to be more than just a new name.

“We wanted to do something to create that wow factor,” Krochak said, noting the festival experience is changing and they wanted to be at the forefront.

The director noted that Craven is more than a party, with big music fans also attending, and organizers wanted to take care of them as well.

Vollhoffer said since taking over the Craven site, organizers have been making minor upgrades, but with the name change it was time to go “full-contact.” He said every year he believes they will do a bit more, now that the “big base” is already laid.

With the new sod, organizers are encouraging concert goers to bring soft lawn chairs to enjoy the festivities.

The site’s renovations began in early spring and are scheduled to be fully complete by the concert kickoff July 13. Country Thunder Saskatchewan runs July 13-16 this year.

Headlining the 2017 music event are Blake Shelton, Toby Keith and Keith Urban. Together the three acts have a total of 62 No. 1 singles.

Along with Shelton, Keith  and Urban are names such as Old Dominion, LOCASH, Terri Clark, Dallas Smith, Meghan Patrick, Ryan Hurd, Cassadee Pope, the Washboard Union, Deric Ruttan, James Barker Band, High Valley and Cold Creek County. Kicking off the party Thursday evening is Canadian country group the Road Hammers.