Blackjack Billy are set to headline Saturday’s event at the Bill Reid Millennium Amphitheatre. Performers Tebey and Karen Lee Batten also take the stage.

‘Gone Country’ music fest organizers embrace their roots

Brothers Jamie and Chris Ruscheinski have brought their innovative cancer fundraiser to Cloverdale for the third consecutive year.

This Saturday, Cloverdale will be host to the third annual Gone Country music festival.

Following the past two-years’ overwhelming popularity, the festival is back at the Bill Reid Millennium Amphitheatre, featuring headliners Blackjack Billy, Tebey and Karen Lee Batten.

Although the musical festival is only in its third year, the story behind the festivities goes back much further. Twins Cancer Fundraising, the organization that puts on the event, was started by Cloverdale natives Jamie and Chris Ruscheinski 15 years ago. After losing both their mother and good friend Shaun Gauthier to cancer the brothers decided to take action and fight back.

At the age of 18, the twins held their first fundraiser in their dad’s backyard, an event that generated more than $22,000 in a single night. After several other successful fundraisers, the twins decided to embrace their Cloverdale roots and go country.

Last year’s event had more than 4,000 people in attendance, raising  $215,000. The funds raised by the organization helps charities such as the BC Cancer Agency, Canadian Cancer Society, Canuck Place Children’s Hospice and Easter Seals centres.

Funds from this year’s concert will support the BC Cancer Foundation in purchasing an endoscopic ultrasound processor. This innovative probe will provide clinicians with detailed images of patients’ internal organs, which will in turn provide better detection of a patient’s cancer. Twins Cancer Fundraising has raised more than $1.25 million to date.

Doors for Gone Country open at 2 p.m. July 25. Music begins at 2:30 p.m., with headliner Blackjack Billy set to take the stage at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are available for those 19 and up through the Twins Cancer Fundraising website: www.twinscancerfundraising.com.

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