The mud was deep, the engines loud and the experience unforgettable for the over 8,000 people in attendance at last year’s Tail Creek Mud & Music Festival.
For the second consecutive year, Jason Jahner, owner of Tail Creek - together with his team have transformed the site located 20 minutes east of Red Deer into a mecca for mud and music lovers.
Walking away from last year’s festival Jahner knew he had his work cut out for him to prepare for this year. He describes last year’s festival as a ‘bit of a shock’, but couldn’t be happier about the massive changes the event will see this year.
“Did we expect it to be as big as it was? By ticket sales no – but with the bands we had last year I’d say yes,” he explained in an interview. “We went by ticket sales – so what happened last year was on Thursday there had been 3,700 tickets sold and on Friday 8,500 showed up.”
The mass influx of cell phone usage crashed the region’s telecommunications network leaving festival goers with little to no cell phone service.
“When we went to check people in our ticket scanners ran off 3G, so half of that was down, leading to large delays in people trying to get in,” said Jahner. “This year we are opening the gates on Wednesday at 4 p.m. to adjust for the increase in volume and on Thursday we are opening the gates at 7 a.m. as well as adding an additional two lanes to enter the site.”
The additional lanes aren’t the only site changes returning patrons will see he said, as they have added additional camping areas and more room to accommodate VIP’s, a new road structure, as well as a new stage/concert bowl area.
“The stage was out in the open before and the wind was heavy causing us to have to shut down the main stage on the last day, so this year we’ve moved everything back into tree coverage,” he explained. “So we decided to move all the stages back into the trees and have constructed a natural amphitheatre/concert bowl so not only is it protected but our acoustics are going to be incredible.
“The people at the back of the bowl will be looking down on the stage in a natural amphitheatre - there’s no love sitting in the middle of a field, with the trees the concert bowl it’s going to be extremely beautiful."
Jahner describes these changes as key to the progression of Tail Creek in the coming years as they adjust for the festival’s growth.
The festival has gained national recognition as one of the only festivals in Canada to see big names in rock, country and electronic music all in one weekend. The festival also offers an extreme motor sports competition.
This year’s line up will see rock and roll headliners Billy Talent alongside Sublime with Rome, as well as country-rock headliner Brantley Gilbert on the main stage.
“We had the Road Hammers last year and they were huge – so we looked at it and saw our demographic responded well to them,” said Jahner. “We decided to bring in more of the country-rock sound again with Brantley Gilbert.
“We wanted to mix it up and there was no where we ever advertised Tail Creek as all rock even or all metal and that’s why we have the ability to mix up the genres.”
The Fusion Stage, presented by Union Events, will feature a plethora of big names in electronic music including Pretty Lights, Zeds Dead, Tommy Trash, as well as Keys n’ Krates.
“Union Events puts on over 700 shows a year,” he added. “And our partnership with them allows us to look into the future as they have the teams we need to help the festival progress to where we want it to be.”
This year will also mark the launch of the festival’s side-by-side racing competition, to which Jahner said will be huge for the motorsport side of the festival which also includes the annual Truck Cup Challenge in what Jahner describes as one of the best off-roading obstacle challenges in Canada.
With the massive additions to site infrastructure, their partnership with Union Events, and the increase in diversity of extreme motor sports events, he is excited to see how this year’s premier mud and music festival pans out.
“We’re not going anywhere,” he said. “We’ve got a pretty good handle on what we need to do to keep this festival going and continue to grow - we will be around for a long time.”
The festival will open gates on June 24th, with music and mud kicking off from June 25th-28th.
Fore more information visit www.tailcreek.ca.