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Home Arts Chester Fest announces July dates, full lineup to be unveiled in June

Chester Fest announces July dates, full lineup to be unveiled in June

Chester Fest announces July dates, full lineup to be unveiled in June
Herald file photo. The crowd at the first Chester Fest in 2019.

It’s only been a few months since the last Chest Fest Couch and Music Festival, but it feels like forever for festival director Joel Rohs.

Chester Fest organizers held a scaled down version of the annual Prince Albert music festival last September. For 2022, however, they moved the festival back to the traditional early July date in anticipation of a return to normal.

“It feels like we’re finally back, even though we existed last year,” Rohs said with a chuckle during a phone interview. “We’re glad to be back happening in July. It’s nice. We’re not shifting things around too much from what we want to do. We’re real excited to be happening again.”

Festival organizers officially announced July 8-9 as the dates for the 2022 festival. It marks the third Chester Fest in Prince Albert.

Although the desire to host Chester Fest was still there, Rohs said there were a few times he was worried it might not happen. The desire to keep a high-quality music festival going in Prince Albert was what kept him going.

“I can’t emphasize that enough. Too many people in our town believe there’s not a lot going on,” he explained. “So here we are, trying to give people one more reason to say, ‘yeah, we have stuff happening here. You don’t have to drive somewhere else and go and see another festival.’

“PA needs a music festival that happens every summer,” he added. “There are all sorts of music festivals that happen all over the province in small communities. As much as I’ve had doubts about whether or not it’s impossible to do this, I really pushed forward, because I know we need it here.”

Rohs proudly described Chester Fest as the comfiest festival on the prairies, with more than 100 couches, loveseats and armchairs available for patrons to relax in while enjoying a mixture of in and out of province talent.

Organizers are still finalizing the lineup, but they expect 15 acts to perform on three stages during the two-day event. Rohs said they have a trickle of announcements planned over the next few weeks before the full slate is announced on June 16.

Regardless of who attends, he said it’s just good to be back.

“I’ll go into the grocery store and someone will ask me, ‘hey, you’re the couch guy. Is the festival happening?’” he said. “It feels good to say yes.”

There are a few changes to this year’s format, the biggest of which is the location. Previous festivals were held at Par Place, just northwest of Prince Albert. This year, Rohs said they’ve moved operations to a green space at the Prince Albert Exhibition grounds.

The biggest need right now is volunteers. Running the festival requires about 2,000 volunteer hours, with most of those hours coming on the festival weekend.

Residents can visit chesterfest.ca/volunteers and fill out an application forum. Free weekend passes are available for volunteers who work a certain number of shifts.

“We need all the help we can get,” Rohs said. “We’ll never say no to volunteers.”

Rohs also thanked the festival’s sponsors for their support. Without it, he explained, Chester Fest wouldn’t be happening.

Chester Fest tickets are now on sales at chesterfest.ca.  A full list of prices is online.