Mission's Rockin' River Musicfest is moving to Merritt.

Mission's Rockin' River Musicfest is moving to Merritt.

Rockin’ River leaves Mission

Mission's outdoor country music festival moving to Merritt

Rockin’ River Musicfest, the Lower Mainland’s biggest outdoor country music event, will leave Mission to head for Merritt next year.

For the past six years, the annual festival has been based in Mission and has been held at Mission Raceway Park.

Festival president Kenny Hess announced on Thursday that after many months of consideration and consultation with fans, industry and management officials, the growth of the festival and the limitations of Mission Raceway Park have made a new venue necessary.

“This is a natural choice as Merritt is not only the home of a very well-established festival site and the home of the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, it also known as the country music capital of Canada and is located right in the heart of B.C.”

Hess explained that Merritt has a well-established festival ground, with almost unlimited camping facilities and permanent structures designed to service the needs of thousands of patrons. The move will also allow organizers to change the dates of the show to the B.C. Day long weekend, making it a four-day event starting Thursday, July 30 and running through Sunday, Aug. 3.

“All the Rockin’ River managers want to thank our Mission- and Fraser Valley-based partners and supporters — the volunteers, firefighters, police, municipal staff, sponsors and patrons — for all they have done to help make our festival bigger and successful,“ Hess said.

“We hope all of our past, present and future friends of the festival will come and join us in our new location, on our new dates, and see what Rockin River Musicfest Merritt 2015 has to offer everyone.”

Rockin’ River Musicfest has steadily grown in its six years in Mission and has hosted approximately 26,000 to its three-day event at Mission Raceway Park.