Chester Fest takes a seat in 2019 music festival lineup

Dylan Cooper (left) and Jaxon Lalonde (right) perform during the Evergreen Artisan Market at the Mann Art Gallery as part of a promotional event for Chester Fest 2019. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

Musicians Joel Rohs and Kayanna Wirtz are mixing two of the things they love most for their next project: live music and couches.

It might not be an obvious pairing, but it’s a natural fit for the Prince Albert couple, who wanted to bring something different to the local music scene.

“We love the old couches,” Rohs chuckled during a break at the Evergreen Artisan Market on Nov. 2. “They’re cheap and they’re comfy. It’s like it’s right from your grandma’s basement. It’s just a fond memory.”

That love became the inspiration for a new music festival set to debut next July. It’s called Chester Fest, in homage to the much-loved chesterfield couches on display. The goal is to create a music festival with all the benefits of a house concert.

“For me, I love the feeling of a house concert. It’s intimate. It’s cozy. I love live music, but sometimes it’s really tiring to stand out at a festival all day long,” Wirtz said. “We just wanted to bring that atmosphere (where) you’re just hanging out in someone’s basement listening to tunes.”

“You can’t really have a music festival in your living room, so our plan is to bring the couches to the music festival,” Rohs added. “Our goal is 100 couches, love seats or armchairs that we’re going to bring to our festival for patrons to sit on, (and) we’re well on our way.”

Creating a new festival is a daunting task for the any music-lover, but Rohs and Wirtz are keeping things in perspective. The plan is to focus on creating the best possible show next July. Whether it lasts five years, 50 years, or just one year is something they’re not thinking about.

The group has a few musical groups lined up so far, including the Dylan Cooper Band and Stephanie Rose. They’ll announce the festival’s first headliner sometime before Christmas.

“We just want to throw a good event and see where it goes,” Rohs explained. “I definitely want it to (happen again next year) but we’re just in it for the event. There’s not a lot of money to be made in music. We’re just in it because we love it.”

The inaugural Chester Fest Couch and Music Festival is scheduled for July 5-6 at Par Place, located three kilometres northwest of Prince Albert. There will be two stages with 15 acts and a lot of couches. For more information, email the festival coordinators Kayanna Wirtz and Joel Rohs at or check the festival Facebook page.

The festival also has a promotional concert scheduled for Nov. 30, when The Steadies perform at the Tartan Table in Prince Albert. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door.