Rockin’ River Festival in Merritt, B.C., latest to cancel 2023 version above ‘economic obstacles’

Rockin’ River Festival in Merritt, B.C., latest to cancel 2023 version above ‘economic obstacles’

The Rockin’ River region new music competition in Merritt, B.C., will not be returning in 2023, with competition organizers confirming “financial hurdles” have halted nonetheless a further higher-profile B.C. occasion.

Rockin’ River began in 2008 out of Mission, B.C., in the Fraser Valley and has been in Merritt due to the fact 2015.

Now it truly is the most current songs pageant to cancel its 2023 edition as rising output prices and a transforming event landscape keep on to have an effect on organizers. 

Before this thirty day period, the Vancouver People Pageant also introduced it would not resume in 2023, however the society at the rear of the function afterwards introduced it was checking out its possibilities.


That is not the scenario with the Rockin’ River festival, with organizers stating on social media that they “tried using their finest” to get earlier economic hurdles.

“We want to thank the City of Merritt who has generally welcomed us with open up arms, the incredible artists, workers and most importantly – you, the fans,” a spokesperson wrote on-line. “We hope to see you once more quickly!”

A spokesperson for events behemoth LiveNation — which operates the ticket web site Ticketmaster and is a co-organizer of the festival — told CBC News that they would release info on foreseeable future editions of the competition “as it will become available”.

CBC News has reached out to the Metropolis of Merritt for comment on this story.

Occasion founder suggests flood damage a aspect

Kenny Hess, a country musician and one particular of the initial co-founders of Rockin’ River back again in 2008, said it was “heartbreaking” to see the festival not return for another year. 

He mentioned the Merritt pageant was a enormous attraction to the small metropolis in B.C.’s Nicola Valley, and that it was a spiritual successor to the Merritt Mountain New music Festival that ran ahead of 2008. The venue for the festival has viewed country audio legends like Johnny Money and Merle Haggard complete in the past.

“At some position, you have to sort of pull the pin and say, you know, you won’t be able to continue on,” he informed CBC News.

A person stares at a children's slide and playset surrounded by brown floodwaters.
Floodwaters swept by means of Merritt, B.C., on Nov. 15, 2021. Hess says the damage from the flooding disaster was a element in the event’s cancellation in 2023, particularly due to the fact it led to soaring expenditures for organizers. (Maggie Macpherson/CBC)

Hess reported COVID-19 was partly to blame for the event’s demise, but he also cited the historic 2021 floods in Merritt and its aftermath as a explanation for the shutdown this 12 months.

“There [were] total campsites that were misplaced,” he claimed. “The owners of the land … they were being still left with a massive invoice to test and clear the land up.

“They did a great occupation in carrying out that, but at the exact time we were left with a lot less tenting and just a large amount considerably less time to rebuild.”

A number of people, many of them shirtless, gather along a riverbank.
Festival-goers cool off in the Coldwater River in this undated photograph. (Rockin’ River Tunes Fest)

Hess mentioned the competition shutdown would also have an impact on musicians, who mostly count on touring and live performances to make funds.

“Hope we can do the triumphant return tale [in] 2024,” he explained.