Bret Michaels returns to CannaFest 2019, after rocking Grand Forks at the 2018 event. (Kathleen Saylors/Grand Forks Gazette)

2019 CannaFest spans generations and styles to rock Grand Forks

The festival kicks off Thurs., Aug. 8, in Grand Forks

It was 1977 or ‘78, Chuck Varabioff said, when his neighbours bought a “killer stereo.” Hi parents followed suit, and so he went and borrowed Cheap Trick’s latest album from a friend.

“I played it and played it and played it,” Varabioff remembered, until he finally returned the album, scratched and dusty after it had spun miles around his turntable. “I was scared to give it back to him.”

Now, at the fifth annual CannaFest in Grand Forks, Varabioff’s 14-year-old self is thrilled to see that band take centre stage at his festival on Aug. 9.

“That’s the one band I want to see more than anybody,” the CannaFest organizer said about this year’s lineup. “I want to see them all, but [Cheap Trick] takes a little bit of an edge.”

Cheap Trick also comes with his father’s endorsement too. The elder Chuck Varabioff, who died several months ago from cancer, was listening to the band’s rendition of the Elvis hit “Don’t be cruel” in his son’s truck.

“I just signed these guys for CannaFest,” the festival organizer told his dad at the time. “What do you think?”

“They’re not Elvis, but they’re pretty good,” his dad replied.

Cheap Trick joins a lineup that includes Poison’s Bret Michaels, former Journey lead singer Steve Augeri, Mötley Crüe’s Vince Neil, the Beach Boys and Marianas Trench – a late addition after “Take me home tonight” singer Eddie Money cancelled his summer tour for health reasons.

Where the Beach Boys formed in 1961, Marianas Trench formed fully 40 years later and released their debut album Fix You in 2006. Meaning, this year’s festival spans more genres and more decades of billboard hits than ever before.

Now, Varabioff said, there’s classics for the grandparents, hair bands for parents and the festival’s middle-age demographic and the Vancouver Juno winners offer something relevant for the third generation of CannaFest goers.

Last year of ‘CannaFest’

Varabioff also told the Gazette that the 2019 edition would be the last year for ‘CannaFest’– not that the music festival is shutting down or moving on, but he’s planning a rebrand for next year.

The organizer explained that having a cartoon pot leaf as a logo and the word “Canna” in the name has scared away some potential sponsors (leading to him fronting the cash to run the festival) and may even run afoul of the federal government’s guidelines on advertising. Cannabis companies are not allowed to market themselves using materials that might appeal to children, such as the leaf currently on CannaFest materials.

Despite the changes, Varabioff said, “It’s [still] going to be the same festival with the same people behind it.”

CannaFest 2019 runs from Aug. 8 through 10 in Grand Forks.

Just Posted

Rapping mom busts rhymes for Castlegar rec centre kid’s drop-in

Funny video with important message about importance of service

Grand Forks march organized to mark day of remembrance and action on violence against women

Boundary Women’s Coalition invites the public to gather at the women’s resource centre on Dec. 6

Grand Forks wool producer looks to spin up more local business

Gabriele Bialon is hoping to make wool production more feasible for Boundary farmers

New system to keep Nakusp-area snowmobilers, caribou from meeting

GPS tracking keeps caribou safe while opening up the backcountry for sledding

Sorting through success with the Grand Forks Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store

The Grand Forks Hospital Auxiliary has raised more than $2.5 million since 2000

VIDEO: Boys help rescue Cariboo bear cub

The cub, weighing just 24lbs, has been taken to wildlife sanctuary in Northwest B.C. for the winter

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Bear raids freezer, gorges on Island family’s Christmas baking

Hungry bruin virtually ignored meat and fish, focused, instead, on the sweets

B.C. pharmaceutical company’s stocks double in value after successful lupus drug trial

More than 40 per cent of patients using voclosporin saw improvements in kidney function

Second warning on romaine lettuce from California region as another E. coli case reported

Two cases of E. coli have been reported in relation to the illness in the U.S.

WorkSafeBC investigating serious incident at Kootenay Boundary landfill

Medical incident shut down the McKelvey Creek landfill Friday morning

Residents in B.C. city could face 133% tax hike in ‘worst case’ lawsuit outcome: report

An average home could see a tax increase of $2,164 in one year

B.C. Transit finds 28 used fareboxes online, saves $300,000

‘Someone joked maybe we can buy used fareboxes on eBay,’ CEO says

Many of Canada’s working poor can’t afford lawyers, don’t qualify for legal aid

One lawyer says many people earn too much to qualify for legal aid, but not enough to really live on

Most Read