CLOVERDALE â€” The Stetson Bowl hasnâ€™t played host to many concerts over the years, so this weekendâ€™s PraiseFest is a bit of a test run for the venue.
Up to 10,000 people could fill the rodeo facility at Cloverdale Fairgrounds for the faith-based event on Saturday (Aug. 1), with Toby Mac, Peter Furler, Dan Bremnes and others hitting the two stages.
The $28-a-ticket festival is brought to Surrey by Washington State-based concert producer Lowell MacGregor as an event branded for local Christian radio station Praise 106.5.
Planning for PraiseFest began four months ago, MacGregor told the Now.
â€œItâ€™s going to be a big event, and what itâ€™s going to do, in my belief, is kind of reinvent the Stetson Bowl,â€ he said.
â€œI donâ€™t think the general populace in that area really knows what the Stetson Bowl is,â€ MacGregor added, â€œand thatâ€™s been one of my uphill battles, to educate people about what it is. The way I look at that facility is, itâ€™s going to be a great place to hold this concert, and we just have to get one of these under our belts to show people that it will be a real showplace.â€
The Stetson Bowl is capable of holding close to 10,000 people, with around 4,200 of those seated in the grandstands.
Caretakers of Cloverdale Fairgrounds will film and photograph PraiseFest as part of efforts to showcase the Stetson Bowl to event planners.
â€œWe want to tell people that yes, you can do this and this and that on our fairgrounds,â€ said Mike MacSorley, the facilityâ€™s GM.
â€œWeâ€™ve talked amongst ourselves here about using the whole site as a country music venue, as opposed to people going out of town for that sort of stuffâ€ he added. â€œWith the stage at the millennium amphitheatre, the Agriplex and Stetson Bowl, weâ€™re hoping eventually a promoter will look at doing something bigger on our site. In a way, weâ€™re showcasing it, but really weâ€™re in the business of renting our facilities to whoever comes to us.â€
(Story continues below video of Toby Mac’s "Speak Life" song)
In addition to music, PraiseFest will feature a petting zoo, rides, bounce houses, exhibits and, as MacGregor put it, â€œbecause itâ€™s faith-based, weâ€™ll have pastors on stage sharing gospel between sets, as a bit of cement to tie it all together.â€¦ If youâ€™re a believer, it will be the place to be that day.â€
The attendance goal for the festival is 10,000, he said Friday, â€œbut thatâ€™s touch and go. Weâ€™ll see.â€¦ I originally thought weâ€™d do 15,000, but I think we had a lot of obstacles, including starting late, weâ€™re doing the event in a place nobody has ever done a concert, other than maybe Lollapalooza two decades ago. And weâ€™re doing it on BC Day weekend, on which a lot of people have already made plans. I think next year we will hit that goal (of 15,000 attendance). Nobody wants a â€˜one and doneâ€™ event here, including the people at Cloverdale Fairgrounds.â€
Other performers at PraiseFest include Love & The Outcome, Red, Matthew West, Joel Reimer, Alana Klatt, Oh Village, Lavoy, Flood the Stone, Brian Doerksen and the SHIYR Poets and Shylo Sharity. For more show details and tickets, call 1-855-443-8499 or visit Praisefestbc.com.