About 15,000 attend Mission’s Rockin’ River

The annual music festival brought top names in musical entertainment

Dwight Yoakam was the headliner at Rockin' River Music Festival Friday night.

Dwight Yoakam was the headliner at Rockin' River Music Festival Friday night.

The music played into the night as thousands of fans rocked at Mission Raceway Park last weekend.

Headliners Randy Bachman and Dwight Yoakam brought people to the show Friday, while George Canyon and Blue Rodeo closed things down Saturday.

This year’s Rockin’ River Music Festival was a “really, really slick affair,” said performer and co-organizer Kenny Hess.

The Mission country star, who had his turn on stage Friday evening, said the crowd was energetic and everyone looked “incredibly happy.”

Even the performers enjoyed themselves. The management team for Bachman, Yoakam and Canyon said they think it was the best-run festival they have been in, Hess shared.

“Everyone was so friendly; they said they would come back any time we want them.”

Close to 15,000 people attended this year’s three-day festival, which kicked off Thursday. Many people came to opening day, but many missed out because of the multi-vehicle crash on the Mission-Abbotsford Bridge in the afternoon that tied traffic up for hours. Hess says he personally knows eight people from the south side of the river who couldn’t make it, and adds there were many others in the same position.

Despite that glitch beyond his control, Hess notes the kick-off party will be back next year.

“We want to expand it every year and do something new.”

Hess is already planning next year’s show and hopes to announce the acts in the coming weeks. He hopes the lineup will attract more than 50,000 music fans next year.

“It’s a huge venture for a couple of local boys to take on,” said Hess of the festival. The positive feedback he received after the show encourages him to continue with the work, but he says he would like more support from the local community.

“We’re proud to be able to do this at home.”