Saskatchewan businesses, staff feeling the roar at Country Thunder
Thousands are gearing up to see country music superstars take the stage at Country Thunder, but it’s not just the musicians feeling the roar of the crowd- local businesses are also reeling in the benefits.
“I just make sure we’re stocked up on everything,” Esso manager Kevin Bacon said.
If you ask Bacon, he’ll tell you the key to surviving Country Thunder is preparation — which is particularly important when you’re the only gas station in Craven.
“Everyone over there has generators and propane tanks, so they have to bring jerry cans over,” Bacon said.
With 20,000 people expected to flood the area, it’s a boost for local businesses. The festival estimates $18 million of economic spin-off to Regina, Craven and the Lumsden area.
Inside the gates, Regina concession stands Campfire Grill and The Gravy Train rely on large events like Country Thunder to make a profit.
“It’s a lot of work,” said owner Darren Zawyrucka. “We had a really good year out here last year — it was very busy and we just had one trailer. This year we have both of these and we also have some mobile carts inside the concert bowl as well.”
WATCH: Consuming pot at Country Thunder? What you need to know
But it’s not just local businesses feeling the roar of the thunder, it’s the staff as well.
“They’re hired locally and most of these folks are from Saskatchewan,” said Country Thunder executive producer Troy Vollhoffer.
“The stage hands, the security staff — a lot of concessions are local.”
Around 1,200 people are working around the clock, making sure the show goes off without a hitch.
“We’ve had people who’ve worked here for 15, 16 years — all local folks — and we get back here and get to see them and it’s awesome,” Vollhoffer said.
While it’s no small feat for a festival of this magnitude, one thing is for sure: local residents and businesses are feeling a boost.
Country Thunder kicks off Thursday and runs until Sunday.