....... The rock gods smiled on Shediac's Can-Am Speedway as rain held off for over 25,000 rock fans who attended Rockfest '99.
Traffic was heavy leading into the town and by early Friday evening it was backed up several kilometre;s. Despite the heat, fans waited patiently for parking spots where some entrepreneurs were offering their yards for as much as $10-$15 per day.
The show kicked off Friday evening, featuring performances geared mainly for the younger age group such as Halifax's Thrush Hermit along with the Matthew Good band and Big Wreck with Atlanta based band Collective Soul capping off the evenings entertainment.
However it appeared that Saturday and Sunday's lineup of classic rock acts were what the majority of fans came to see, as the attendence swelled both days.
Saturday's line-up included popular 70's and 80's groups such as Chilliwack, Powder Blues Band and Nazareth who treated the crowd to over an hour of their well known hits.
A new band called Big People, made up of rock veterans from such bands as the Cars, 38 Special and others performed a number of familiar songs from their former groups. Closing off the night was Styx, featuring Canadian musician Larry Gowan replacing Dennis Deyoung who is taking some time off and is not touring with the band this summer.
For most of the day the festival was running behind schedule with Styx not starting till 11:45 pm. The late start didn't hinder the band, who seemed to have more energy on stage than a baseball game playing the World Series.
About 15 minutes into their set they were pulled off stage due to an approaching thunderstorm. Fortunately it never materialized and a short time later they were back to continue their performance.
Sunday started out with the Woodstock band Andy Cottle and Double Cross who, normally accoustomed to the local clubs, seemed right at home on the big stage. Despite a small tirnout early in the day, the audience appeared to enjoy their blend of guitar driven blues rock.
What followed was more performances from such bands as Prism, April Wine, Lee Arron and Kansas. A brief shower developed during Aaron's set but for the most part the crowd was undaunted by nature's bad side. The greatest cheers were left for Texas Rockers, ZZ Top who arrived at the venue in a motorcycle under plice escort. They ran through their hits such as "Sharp Dressed Man' and "Legs" along with lesser known material from recent releases.
The band closed off the night with their 70's hit "Tush". The Red Cross reported that several people had been treated for exhaustion and intoxication of various kinds by late that evening, however no one was considered at serious risk.
Concert promoterJack Livingston said, "it was phenomenal, the people loved the music". Livingston called it a huge success with businesses in the area reporting a busy weekend.
All Rights Reserved.