Chester Fest organizers aim to build on first year success

(L to R) Chester Fest organizers Joel Rohs and Kayanna Wirtz. Photo Courtesy of Scott Roos/Special to the Daily Herald.

Annual event scheduled for September, headlined by Vancouver’s Said the Whale

by Scott Roos
Special to the Daily Herald

It’s been two years since Prince Albert’s inaugural edition of the critically acclaimed Chester Fest Couch + Music Festival last took place.

The first round was held in July of 2019, and left many festival goers hoping for an amazing sequel. Festival organizers Joel Rohs and Kayanna Wirtz, were set to deliver something that would have been even more stunning than the first. Unfortunately, a little thing called COVID 19 happened and took the wind out of not only the festival’s plans, but also the music industry as a whole.

Thankfully, this past July 11th, things have opened up again which has kicked Rohs’ and Wirtz’s festival plans into high gear and the festival is set to return on the weekend September 10th at H.O.P. Youth Place (formerly Par Place).

“You take a year off from doing a festival. You sleep in on weekends. You fix the garage door. You repaint a fence and then the festival comes back and you’re like ‘I forgot how much work this is,’” joked Rohs in a recent conversation with the Herald. 

“It’s like having another full-time job, ” added Wirtz.

The pair are currently working hard to get everything ready for Chester Fest’s return. The great thing about the 2019 edition was how much care and attention to detail Rohs and Wirtz put into making sure festival goers had a great time.

Herald file photo. The crowd at the first Chester Fest in 2019.

The concept of Chester Fest is something that they believe in very strongly and, and it’s this overarching philosophy that will no doubt drive them to another very successful year.

“Our goal from the start has always been to throw an awesome festival with awesome bands because the people in PA deserve to have their own (larger scale) festival,” Rohs explained. “The festival is for the people, really.”

All this aside, with Saskatchewan now “reopened” many artists and bands are using this summer to desperately make up for lost time. It’s been a struggle to finalize the festival lineup within the shorter planning timeframe, but a few weeks ago they announced Vancouver’s Said the Whale as the first headliner.

Both Rohs and Wirtz are big fans of the energy that Said the Whale brings to the table. If the announcement of Said the Whale is any indication, the festival will once again be on solid footing when it comes to the entertainment aspect. For festival goers, that’s the most important part.

“I love Said the Whale. I’m a huge fan,” Wirtz said. “Their live show is so amazing. I love the songs, especially live. I feel like I know a large range of people that like them—my mom loves them right down to people younger than me—so, I think we’ve got a good audience. We always think about booking a band that people here will want to see.”

Tickets for the festival are currently on sale and can be purchased via the Chester Fest website.