20 Years of Memories Hosting Big Valley Jamboree
One of the greatest highlights of my multi-dimensional career has been the opportunity to host Canada’s largest annual outdoor music festival, the Big Valley Jamboree, for 20 consecutive years. Where has all that time gone?
It’s been quite a ride to say the least, and a very special privilege to stand on that huge stage every August long weekend rubbing shoulders with country music’s elite – Reba, Vince Gill, Tim McGraw, Tammy Wynette, Mel Tillis, Toby Keith, Blake Shelton…the list goes on and on.
Back in 1994 and 1995 I even emceed Craven. On one of those Saskatchewan shows Merle Haggard was quite late getting to the stage; apparently he had some musician friends on his bus that he’d been…shall we say…”visiting” with.
Well after just 2 songs, the Hag waved his arms in the air and bid the crowd adieu, much to the astonishment of his road manager Fuzzy Owen, who was standing on the side of the stage. As Merle was walking off the stage, he was confronted by Fuzzy and a bit of a dust-up ensued. It seemed that the Hag was certain he’d already played his entire 75-minute show!
Eventually Merle walked back to his microphone, played another 2 or 3 songs for the dumbfounded crowd, then once again hollered “Thank you everybody…good night!”, and walked offstage. Again, an argument with his manager, who I overheard explain to the Hag that if he cut his show that short, nobody was gonna get paid.
Well eventually Hag got the point, settled in, and got on with the business of performing his entire set…and then some. Two and a half hours later he was still standing there belting out hit after hit!
Someday I hope to write a book about my summers… and memories… at BVJ. Until then, I’ll just keep taking notes.
See you next August long in Camrose, I’ve been booked back to emcee!