If you’re expecting to unwind at this year’s Funtastic A&W Music Festival, think again.
This year’s lineup features a diverse array of artists guaranteed to have both slo-pitch players and music lovers pumping their fists and flicking their Bics (make that Smart phones.)
New this year is an added extra night of music, on the Monday, which this year happens to be Canada Day, said Jim McEwan, Funtastic executive director.
Performing before the fireworks display will be two of Canada’s rock heavyweights, Vancouver’s Theory of a Deadman and Toronto’s Big Wreck.
“Canada Day is the perfect day to bring two huge Canadian acts to town,” said McEwan, adding Funtastic is also appealing to its 25-to-40-year-old demographic with some more modern-era bands.
“The crowd is going to be wowed. Theory of a Deadman and Big Wreck are very much musicians’ bands. They are unbelievable in the studio and even better live.”
Big Wreck, which reunited in 2010 with lead singer Ian Thornley and guitarist Brian Doherty, has more recently hit the airwaves with Top 5 hit Wolves off its 2012 album Albatross, and is sure to play past hits such as The Oaf, That Song, Blown Wide Open, and Ladylike.
Meanwhile Theory of a Deadman continues to tour North America. The first band to be signed by Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger’s label, the band has had seven Top 10 hits, including Santa Monica, Hurricane, Lowlife, So Happy, Bad Girlfriend and All or Nothing, and won a Juno for Best New Group of the Year in 2003.
The festival starts its four-day weekend at the Department of National Defence Vernon Army Camp field June 28 with some classic Canadian rock with the return of ‘80s hitmakers Honeymoon Suite (Wave Babies, New Girl Now). Festival attendees are then guaranteed to go wild when ‘70s British band Sweet (Ballroom Blitz) headlines June 29.
For who missed the Wilson sisters rock out recently in Penticton, Heart fans can get the next best thing when Vancouver act tribute act Barracuda also plays June 29.
Country fans can get in on the action when B.C. born and raised Aaron Pritchett returns to Funtastic with hits such as Hold My Beer (While I Kiss Your Girlfriend) June 30.
Rising star on the Canadian country music scene Julian Austin will kick off the show before Pritchett takes the stage.
“Julian Austin does a lot of work with the Canadian military, which is fitting as he’ll be playing on Vernon’s DND grounds,” said McEwan. “We hope to give our visitors and the folks in Vernon a really great show. We are talking to visitors about booking extra nights in town as it will be the start of vacation time for many of them.”