In late 2018, Dauphin's Countryfest hosted a "Behind the Curtain" event that was meant for sponsors, investors and volunteers of the festival to come out and meet the new Board of Directors, as well as talk about last years festival in detail. This event gave us a chance to be transparent with the trends in the festival, the volunteer opportunities that the festival offers, and exactly how these dollars transfer back into our community. Below, we have feature an article posted in the Dauphin Herald from local reporter Michelle Nyquist.

Dauphin’s Countryfest is in good hands was the message shared at a Behind the Curtain event hosted by the board of the local $5 million festival. General manager Rob Waloschuk explained the gathering not only announced celebration plans for its 30th anniversary, it also addressed some of the challenges Canada’s longest running country music festival is facing. As the promoter for Dauphin’s Countryfest, Waloschuk explained he is forecasting acts to book 18 months in advance. There is a lot of competition for many artists, he said, noting the top 10 A-list artists can play anywhere during Countryfest weekend. “And in order to get them, you’re doing two things. You’re booking them as much as 18 months in advance and you’re paying top dollar if you want to get them, because they have a lot of choices to go to,” Waloschuk said, adding the situation is similar with B-list artists. There are more festivals across North America, he noted, all going for the same artists, plus pop up festivals and fairs all booking bands. Waloschuk pointed out the industry has also changed, where artists used to make 80 per cent of revenues from album sales and 20 per cent from touring and appearances. Those numbers have reversed, he said, where most income for artists now comes from touring and appearances and the least amount of income is from record sales. “You know when you used to buy a whole album for 20 bucks or whatever for a CD, now you can buy just a song that you want. You don’t have to buy the whole album anymore,” Waloschuk said, adding artists do not produce as many albums, putting out singles instead.  As a result, artists are charging more, he said, to support their business. 

Part of Countryfest’s success, he noted, is the respect it has earned in the industry. “After 30 years, or 29 years for me I guess, booking bands and dealing with agents and artists on a regular basis, if I make a phone call on behalf of Dauphin’s Countryfest looking for an artist or talking about an artist with a manager or an agent, the call is taken because they know we’re serious,” Waloschuk said. “When you talk about any of the big events in North America, Dauphin’s Countryfest is one of them that gets respect and thus, we get the big name artists, we get those A-lists that we can choose from.” Another challenge has been the increase in competition for entertainment dollars from ticket buyers, he said, as well as the change in the purchase habits of consumers. “In past years, you used to have loyalty there, I guess,” Waloschuk said, noting attending the local festival was once an annual rite of passage. “It didn’t matter, you were a fan and you went and that’s the way it was.” This is not the case any more, he noted, not just for Dauphin’s Countryfest, but for other festivals and events, as well. Consumers have a lot of choices where to spend their entertainment dollars, Waloschuk said, and they are not buying tickets as far in advance as they used to. “I think people are hanging onto their money a lot longer. And are they going to go to the event? Sure they are, but they’ll decide when they want to buy the ticket,” he said, noting consumers are often waiting on last minute deals, or spending their entertainment dollars on other events such as the Winnipeg Jets.

At Behind the Curtain, director Clayton Carefoot noted funds raised through volunteering at the festival in 2018 was $142,595.68. While Dauphin’s Countryfest is not unique in utilizing volunteer support as part of its operations, Waloschuk feels the model is a large part of its success. “If this festival were to just break even, it would be considered a success,” he said, noting for some organizations, Dauphin’s Countryfest is the sole fund-raiser for the year. “We pay them enough money to fund their projects for the entire year in a lot of cases, depending on the organization.” The funds paid to volunteer groups is part of Countryfest’s expenses, he said, adding if the festival did not exist, more groups would be vying for the same fund-raising dollars in the community. Carefoot calculated $142,595.68 is equivalent to selling 100,419 boxes of chocolate covered almonds. “Well that’s a whole lot of chocolate happening. They don’t all do that, but they’ll go to another organization in trying to get sponsorship for this or that,” Waloschuk said, adding, fund-raising through volunteering at the festival takes some pressure off the local business community, as well. 

President Ann Ransom pointed out Dauphin’s Countryfest has established itself as a major economic driver within the region, generating an economic impact of approximately $9.7 million over the course of the four-day event. Treasurer Duane McMaster calculated $9.7 million equates to 109 full-time jobs annually. Waloschuk explained those numbers are from an economic impact study contracted by Dauphin’s Countryfest in 2010, adding more recent numbers would be higher. The positive impacts of the festival, he said, is something many members of the community are not aware of.  For example, Waloschuk is often asked the cost of an artist for the festival. “And when I tell them, sometimes people don’t believe you. But the ones who trust you and do believe you are blown away,” he said, adding there is a mistaken belief the festival is making money all the time.  “It’s not like that, it’s really not. It costs four-and-a-half million dollars or something like that, before you sell a ticket, before you open the gate, in order to make this thing happen,” Waloschuk said. Tickets sales alone do not cover all expenses, he said, which is why directors focus on other revenue generators for the festival. Corporate sponsorship, he said, is the second highest source of income for the festival, next to ticket sales, which may be in-kind products or services.

The point of Behind the Curtain, Waloschuk noted, was to share the information there is more to Dauphin’s Countryfest than putting artists on stage and selling tickets. “I don’t think a lot of people, especially local people, understand what it takes to put this on and it’s through no fault of their own. I mean this is a way of educating them a little bit, if they want to be educated,” he said. “Some people don’t care, some people do care, but those who do and want to know, we’re here to tell them this is what it takes.” The vision statement for Dauphin’s Countryfest is to continue to offer a highly valued and respected music event that will continue to financially contribute to the overall betterment of the community at large and Waloschuk feels that vision is forward thinking and progressive. The festival has begun to diversify, he noted, with Countryfest Presents shows, offering concerts throughout the year at different venues. “And again, it’s all in part and parcel with the whole competing with other events and other things happening,” Waloschuk said, noting the board is often offered the opportunity to host artists touring the province. “Do we want to do the shows, rather than somebody like Live Nation coming and doing them, taking the money and leaving? Lately we’ve been saying yes, to help market the festival and, if they’re coming in to take those dollars away anyway, we might as well get a piece of those dollars in order to help support the festival.”
With a board of directors and staff preparing for the future, planning for succession and adjusting to a changing market, Waloschuk affirmed the festival is in good hands.
“I know we will continue this and continue to support the community. We will from our end and we hope that the community will support us, too,” he said.

Download the PDF of the Behind the Curtain Annual Report

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25/03/2019 10:04:16

June 27 to 30, 2019
Superstar line-up to feature Jason Aldean, Toby Keith,
Brothers Osborne, Old Dominion, and more…

Nov. 13, 2018 (Dauphin, MB) – Canada’s longest running country music festival turns 30! To celebrate, Dauphin’s Countryfest has a full year of surprises and announcements ahead, starting with this incredible line-up that includes both the biggest hit makers of today and Countryfest favorites from the past.

Kicking things off on THURSDAY, JUNE 27 on the Bell MTS Stage, the biggest headliner we’ve ever had for a Kick-Off Party, NITTY GRITTY DIRT BAND.
And the party doesn’t stop there!

Club Regent Casino & Event Centre Main Stage:
Andrew Hyatt
Madeline Merlo
Brothers Osborne
Old Dominion

Bell MTS Stage:
Chris Buck Band

Club Regent Casino & Event Centre Main Stage:
The Reklaws
Chad Brownlee
Terri Clark
Jason Aldean

Club Regent Casino & Event Centre Main Stage:
NEAL MCCOY as our featured host for the day – a Countryfest all-time favorite! Collin Raye
Aaron Tippin
Sammy Kershaw
Charlie Major
David Lee Murphy
Clay Walker
Toby Keith

Bell MTS Stage:
Doc Walker

 “Wow! The memories that have come back working on this year’s line-up have been amazing! With many more spots to fill, I believe our 30th birthday will be one to remember for both past and present Countryfest fans” says Rob Waloschuk, General Manager for Dauphin’s Countryfest. 

We are kicking off our 30th year with a “MAJOR” community gift. Dauphin’s Countryfest is giving away a free concert to a non-profit organization to help raise funds for their community.

As a way to give back, and to celebrate our 30th birthday, we want YOUR TOWN to host our pre-birthday PARTY! Dauphin’s Countryfest will provide one lucky Manitoba community with an opportunity to host a country music concert, headlined by Canadian country music legend CHARLIE MAJOR, in the spring of 2019. Dauphin’s Countryfest provides the concert, and the lucky community gets to retain all of the proceeds for their organization.

All submission details can be found at
The contest opens to all eligible applicants at 9:00 am (CT) on November 14, 2018 and closes at 11:59 pm (CT) on March 31, 2019.

“Leaving your 20’s behind is an exciting milestone that deserves to be celebrated. The Board of Directors and the staff have been having so much fun planning all the ways to celebrate 30 years of running Manitoba’s largest country music festival. We are thrilled to finally be sharing some of our plans with you.” says Ann Ransom, President of Dauphin’s Countryfest, adding “It’s our birthday, but it’s everybody’s party!”

Sept 17, 2018 (Dauphin, MB) – Dauphin’s Countryfest, Canada’s longest running country music festival, is pleased to announce that Jason Aldean is booked to perform on the Club Regent Casino and Event Centre Main Stage Saturday night of Countryfest 2019!

The two-time, reigning and current ACM “Entertainer of the Year” Jason Aldean has helped define the genre’s 21st century, which plays into his 19 Number One hits, more than 15 million total album sales and dozens of sold-out stadium shows. Continuing on that momentum, Aldean’s last three albums each bowed at Number One on the all-genre Billboard 200 albums chart, and all seven of his previous LPs have achieved Platinum certification or better. Aldean’s wide-open approach has made him a live-show favorite and we cannot be more excited to have him performing on our stage again!

“I am more than thrilled to be bringing Jason back to Countryfest after just over 9 years and over a dozen Number One hits since his last appearance” says Countryfest General Manager Rob Waloschuk, adding “It’s our 30th birthday and along with the previously announced Brothers Osborne, Old Dominion, and now Jason Aldean, plans are continuing to make 2019 a birthday to remember. Stay tuned for even more announcements, including some very special events taking place all year.”

Tickets for Dauphin’s Countryfest 2019 go on sale Tuesday, October 9th at 9:00 am. Tickets can be purchased online at, or by calling 1-800-361-7300, or in-person at the Dauphin’s Countryfest office (28- 2nd Ave NE in Dauphin).
*Ticket Sales for Countryfest Members take place for ONE WEEK ONLY, Sept. 17-21.

Countryfest Members - you can renew your tickets, camping and reserved seats for Countryfest 2019 for ONE WEEK ONLY! 

Monday, September 17 to Friday, September 21 is when it is all happening! 

You will receive a renew link via email the morning of September 17 or you can call our office to renew your tickets, camping and seating.

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