The June 22 rock festival at East Zwicks Island Park will feature Burton Cumming and Band, Hedley, Counting Crows, the Wallflowers and Orillia band Bleeker Ridge.
It’s the fifth year for the festival, which this year will be held only in Belleville and present an all-rock program.
“This year will be the biggest production we’ve had,” said Toronto-based promoter Mark Higgins.
Cummings has performed in Belleville several times and on this trip will perform not only his solo songs but hits from his days as singer and multi-instrumentalist of the Guess Who.
“It’s like two hours of hits,” said Higgins. “Burton’s an icon. He’s a Canadian legend.”
California-based Counting Crows are known for their breakout hit, Mr. Jones, plus ‘Round Here, A Long December and Have You Seen Me Lately?
Hedley is a returning rock act intended for the younger set. Higgins said the group is now recording a new album and “not even on tour, so it’s a rare thing” to book them for a concert.
Last year’s festival targeted younger fans and Higgins said it worked “to a degree,” by raising Big Music Fest’s profile in online social media. But the intention this year is to attract a broader crowd.
“It’s the most rounded show we’ve ever done,” Higgins said. “We want the young people to come and see the stars.”
He declined to release the order in which bands will perform, saying it wasn’t finalized.
“The event is worth over $1 million to the city,” Bay of Quinte Tourism president Ryan Williams told council Monday. “We have all of our hotels full. We have people all through downtown and the malls.”
Belleville site manager David Joycesaid organizers “have stepped it up a notch,” limiting the ticket price to $64.50 ($84.50 for the VIP zone) while keeping vendors close to the stage.
“The buzz has been really good,” Joyce said, saying the public is always interested to know each year’s lineup. “People have been asking for months.”
He and Higgins are hoping for 15,000 fans. Last year 8,000 attended.
The first 500 people to buy tickets will receive VIP tickets at the general-admission price.
The festival is a liquor-licenced all-ages event. The VIP area is a liquor-licensed all-ages zone, but minors are not permitted in the regular liquor-licenced area.
Ticket sales begin Thursday at 11 a.m. at the Best Western hotel on the northeast corner of North Front Street and Bell Boulevard or online at bigmusicfest.com