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Concerts

Vancouver Launching Major Country Festival, Coast City Country, in 2024

Nickelback, Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley will headline the first edition of the festival, which is expecting more than 75,000 people over the course of multiple days in April 2024.

Nickelback

Nickelback

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There’s a new Canadian festival riding into town. Live Nation Canada has announced the inaugural edition of Coast City Country, a multi-day country music event coming to Vancouver’s BC Place stadium on April 19 and 20, 2024. Headlining Coast City are Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley and Canada’s own Nickelback.

It's the biggest country music event of its kind in Vancouver. Live Nation’s Ryan Balaski, VP of Festivals, says the time is right for a festival that can bring fans of all generations into town.


“Coming out of COVID, there’s been a lot of re-think about how to do things,” Balaski tells Billboard Canada.

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In re-considering their festivals approach, Live Nation noticed a gap in the market: Vancouver has never had a large-scale country music festival. Country, while always a popular genre, is having a huge moment on the all-genre charts, with Morgan Wallen claiming Billboard’s 2023 Hot 100 Artist of the Year and Song of the Year titles.

“The success of Morgan has really grown the genre, especially in Canada, to that younger demo,” Balaski says. “We’re seeing all age groups now going to country arena shows.”

Nickelback were a natural fit as headliners. The Canadian superstars have never played BC Place, despite hailing from Western Canada, and were excited by the opportunity, Balaski says. Though typically thought of as a rock band, Nickelback have been playing country festivals this year, including Boots and Hearts, a major one in Ontario. Nickelback is one of the best-selling Canadian bands of all time, and was Billboard’s top group of the 2000s.

American country star Luke Bryan hasn’t played Western Canada since 2018. Balaski says the promoter was looking to do something original for Bryan’s return, not just a standard arena show, and Coast City provides that different atmosphere.

The festival’s goal isn’t just to sell tickets to Vancouver country fans, but to bring in attendees from far and wide.

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“We want our own destination event, for not only just Western Canada, but the Pacific Northwest, Eastern Canada to come out.” The festival is planned for the spring so as not to compete with longstanding country festivals.

The inspiration came partly from an event entirely outside of the music industry: every year, rugby sevens tournaments bring sports fans to Vancouver, as part of HSBC SVNS global rugby sevens celebrations. “It’s like a takeover for a weekend,” Balaski says of the sevens events. “People are — at 9 AM — out in costumes, going all day all night. It’s just a really different vibe for Vancouver."

He imagines Coast City as a kind of country takeover of Vancouver, with attendees wearing cowboy hats and flocking to the west coast city to attend the festival. He namechecks Montreal and Austin as similar destination cities, where music fans already travel for festivals. “I was like: I want to create something like that in Vancouver.”

The Coast City lineup is fleshed out with up-and-coming country names, like Bailey Zimmerman and Chayce Beckham, who has a hit in Canada right now with “23.” Josh Ross, of Hamilton, Ontario, also has a spot on the lineup. Ross has been opening for Nickelback on their 2023 dates and was recently nominated for six Canadian Country Music Association Awards.

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“This is a perfect opportunity to elevate somebody like Josh, who’s already doing great in the national space and can play a major festival,” Balaski says.

The festival extends beyond BC Place, for late night events at the Commodore Ballroom from April 18 through April 20.

Tickets for Coast City Country go on sale Dec. 8.

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The Beaches performing at Billboard Canada's Women in Music Launch on June 5, 2024
Marc Thususka Photography

The Beaches performing at Billboard Canada's Women in Music Launch on June 5, 2024

Awards

The Beaches, Charlotte Cardin, Allison Russell Make the 2024 Polaris Music Prize Long List

The 40-album long list for the Polaris Prize, which awards $50,000 to the best Canadian record of the year features up-and-comers like punk group NOBRO and producer Bambii, plus rapper TOBi, and legends like Quebec group Karkwa and previous Heritage Prize winner Beverly Glenn-Copeland.

Some of the country's biggest breakthrough artists are in contention for the prestigious Polaris Music Prize.

The 40-album long list was revealed today (June 11) at Sonic Boom record store in downtown Toronto. It features some of the buzziest names in Canadian music, from The Beaches — who were recently awarded Billboard Canada Women in Music's inaugural Group of the Year award — to Grammy-winner Allison Russell, to Canadian Hot 100 charting acts like Charlotte Cardin and Talk, to underground mainstays like Cindy Lee, who had an organic breakthrough this year with Diamond Jubilee.

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