The sights and the sounds of fifth annual Central Music Festival drew hundreds to the outdoor site on the old C & E trail in Red Deer County throughout the weekend.
About 500 people filed through the gates on each of the first two days, and the final day drew a smaller crowd of about 150 people.
With a lineup that included Jonas and the Massive Attraction, the Odds and plenty of Western Canadian talent, producer Mike Bradford had hoped to draw thousands to the three-day festival.
“It’s been very encouraging,” said Bradford. “We had some great weather. The crowds have been good and we’ve had some good response to the music.”
The final tally was not available on Sunday but Bradford estimated the attendance was much higher than previous years.
The addition of camping and an extra day may have been the crowd pleaser. Bradford estimated between 30 and 50 people camped on site throughout the weekend.
Camping will likely be back next year as well as the free shuttle service from Red Deer.
Bradford said next year they may add a fourth day to the festival.
“We just have to evaluate,” he said. “We try to improve on the festival each year.”
Sylvan Lake’s Judy Dyrland was a first timer to the festival. As a country and western fan, she was thrilled to hear to Rocky Mountain House’s The Larsgard Family Band and Canadian Country Music Award winner Dick Damron.
“It’s been a wonderful weekend,” said Dyrland. “It somewhere to get out and just enjoy the outdoors.”
Friends Cathy Beal and Brandie St. Jean, both from Red Deer, were also new to the festival. They were given free tickets so they thought they would take advantage of the perfect weather for an outdoor concert.
“I love outdoor music,” said St. Jean. “This is relaxing. This is calming. Good people. Good atmosphere and it’s close to home. Something to do on a Sunday afternoon.”
The outdoor festival began Friday afternoon and wrapped up Sunday afternoon.