Loonstock 2014 A Resounding Success

Pipestone Flyer

The Loonstock promotional materials stated the ‘gates open @ 1:00 pm Saturday, August 16th, 2014’.

However, when driving by the Loons Golf Course & RV Park course on Friday, August 15th, it looked like everyone was already there. Campers and tents filled the open area stretching from Highway 814 to the Clubhouse entrance and then out into the field leading to the Ag Society grounds. On Saturday the Festival crowd grew even more as vehicles streamed into the Loons Golf Course and RV Park to join the camping crowd that had begun to arrive earlier in the week.

Loonstock is like no other music festival. This one day outdoor event is hosted on a professional stage nestled among trees just west of the Loons Golf Course club house. Nothing extravagant, but very serviceable. Entering the stage from an area darkened by the late evening, and shadowed by trees, appeared to be a unique and enjoyable experience for performers John Anthony (Tribute to Rod Stewart) and Rachel Swindler (AC/DC, Guns n’ Roses). The performers travelled to Wetaskiwin from the bright lights and glitter of Las Vegas to perform at Loonstock. As stated by Anthony, “Unlike the Las Vegas venues, where shows are somewhat structured, I'm looking forward to performing outdoors, being surrounded by the scenic location, and giving my best recreation of my Salute to Rod Stewart in my own passionate way.”

Along with the beautiful and talented singer Rachael Swindler, and backed by their Las Vegas based band, the final act of the day was stellar on what Anthony described as, “an exciting, fun filled summer night.”

Loonstock is the brain child of local businessman and promoter, Mr. Larry Moussa, who has a personal passion for music. Through his resourcefulness, Moussa provided the audience with 6 performing groups belting out their tunes during 10 non-stop hours. The performers were ‘cover bands’ paying tribute to original performers such as Rod Stewart, Johnny Cash, AC/DC and Hank Williams. A logical question one might ask prior to attending Loonstock is why go to a performance with ‘cover bands’. The answer came by witnessing the entertainment value of having the performers tell the story about the life of Johnny Cash while using his music and songs as props. This interesting concept was enhanced by the quality of the performances.

The Festival has grown from a modest attendance of approximately 250-300 in the inaugural year, 2012, to an estimated 600 attendees in 2014. Unlike many other Festivals, Loonstock has retained the feeling of a ‘private party open to the residents of Wetaskiwin and their friends and relatives’ where they can gather in a setting that is convenient, yet provides all the amenities of a Festival. As Moussa navigated his way through the crowd throughout the day, it was evident that the ‘guests’ appreciated his efforts that made this party possible.

The performers clearly had a great time at this unique Festival.

“Growing up, I spent a lot of time in Wetaskiwin around family, and it means so much to be able to come back and sing here,” remarked Christina Dennehy, a musician originally from Wetaskiwin and currently residing in British Columbia.

“There is really nothing like playing in front of a crowd so close to home. There is such an overwhelming amount of support and encouragement. I feel so lucky and am incredibly appreciative of Larry and Arlene Moussa for asking me to sing at Loonstock again this year.”

John Anthony arrived direct from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas to treat concert goers with his incredible Tribute to Rod Stewart. John’s natural look resembles Rod so much that he is constantly mistaken for the Legend himself. While covering a few Rod Stewart songs with his Boston based band, John discovered he had the ability to emulate Rod’s voice and mannerisms. The result is now a polished, spot on recreation of an authentic Rod Stewart concert.

David James and his band, Big River, are a Johnny Cash tribute act performing the hits spanning five decades of Johnny’s career. Most tribute bands consciously try to look, act and sound like their idols. Dave doesn’t have to try, as his natural voice is close to that of Johnny Cash and all he had to capture were the mannerisms.

Rachel Swindler, direct from Las Vegas, provided the energy-filled opening song for the final act of the night and co-performed and backed John Anthony during his Rod Stewart Tribute. She then took over the stage and electrified the audience with her renditions of songs made popular by hard rock bands AC/DC, Guns and Roses and others.

Rounding out the cast was Wetaskiwin’s Ken Mastel (Moon Dogs) performing a tribute to Hank Williams, Aaron Goodvine, Nashville recording artist and Nashville Star finalist, and Wetaskiwin’s very own, gorgeous Christina Dennehy.

The Loonstock Concert strived to take on a modified identity for 2014, to provide entertainment that is, “something for everyone,” and it did just that. The concert began with packed hours of diverse styles of country music. But, as the daylight changed to dusk, and dusk to dark, the music style began a transition from country to rock and ended with vibrant AC/ DC and Guns and Roses style music.

Although created to provide a fun event for local residents, their friends and relatives, Loonstock provides ancillary benefits. Promoter Larry Moussa suggests, “This is a great opportunity to promote Wetaskiwin by providing a show that will draw people into our community. The more people that come into Wetaskiwin means more business for all the local businesses that will benefit from the spinoff … gas stations, grocery stores, retail, car dealerships and all the others.”

Judging from the enthusiastic crowd that was dancing, singing, swaying and generally very appreciative of the highly energetic performances, I suggest you reserve your tickets and camping spots early for Loonstock 2015. Larry Moussa is promising an even bigger and better event.

Pictured: Christina Dennehy, formally of Wetaskiwin, joined headliners John Anthony, David James and Big River, and Rachel Swindler at this year’s Loonstock. Photo by Barry McDonald. See more photos in this week’s paper.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta has 3,651 active cases of COVID-19. (File photo)
432 new COVID cases sets another record Friday

Central zone holds steady at 126 active cases

"We are looking seriously at the spread and determining what our next steps should be," says Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, as the daily number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb.
427 new COVID cases is highest in Alberta ever

Central zone has 126 active cases of COVID-19

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Temporary COVID-19 testing sites coming to Wetaskiwin and Ponoka

The Wetaskiwin location will open Oct. 23, 2020 and the Ponoka location will open Oct. 29.

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
City and County of Wetaskiwin reporting active cases

Both the City of Wetaskiwin and County of Wetaskiwin have active cases.

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw updates media on the Covid-19 situation in Edmonton on Friday March 20, 2020. nbsp;Alberta is reporting it's highest daily number of COVID-19 cases, with 364 new infections. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta confirmed 323 COVID-19 cases Tuesday

Central zone active cases at 145

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)
VIDEO: One day until B.C. voters go to the polls in snap election defined by pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan’s decision to call an election comes more than a year ahead of schedule and during a pandemic

This photo provided by Air Force Reserve shows a sky view of Hurricane Epsilon taken by Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter team over the Atlantic Ocean taken Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020.   Epsilon’s maximum sustained winds have dropped slightly as it prepares to sideswipe Bermuda on a path over the Atlantic Ocean.  The National Hurricane Center says it should come close enough Thursday, Oct. 22, evening to merit a tropical storm warning for the island.  (Air Force Reserve via AP)
Hurricane Epsilon expected to remain offshore but will push waves at Atlantic Canada

Epsilon is not expected to have any real impact on land

A voter places her absentee ballot in the ballot box, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, at Merrill Auditorium in Portland, Maine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Robert F. Bukaty
American voters living in Canada increasingly being counted in presidential race

The largest number of Canadian-based American voters cast their ballots in New York and California

A composite image of three photographs shows BC NDP Leader John Horgan, left, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Sept. 25, 2020; BC Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau, centre, in Victoria on Sept. 24, 2020; and BC Liberal Party Leader Andrew Wilkinson Pitt Meadows, B.C., on Sept. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck, Chad Hipolito
British Columbia votes in snap election called during COVID-19 pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan called the snap election one year before the fixed voting date

Nunavut's provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, on Tuesday June 30, 2020. The annual report from Nunavut's representative for children and youth says "complacency and a lack of accountability" in the territory's public service means basic information about young people needing services isn’t tracked. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Nunavut’s young people ‘should be expecting more’ from government services: advocate

‘The majority of information we requested is not tracked or was not provided by departments’

Ryen Williams, 11, with a lost miniature horse at JJ Collett Oct. 23. Photo by Don Williams
UPDATE: Owners found

Father and son found him while out for a walk at JJ Collett

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

U.S. border officers at the Peace Arch crossing arrested two men on California warrants this week. (File photo)
Ottawa predicts system delays, backlogs unless court extends life of refugee pact

Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places to seek protection

Conservative member of Parliament Michelle Rempel Garner, left to right, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and Conservative Deputy Leader Candice Bergen arrive to hold a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No-confidence showdown over sweeping Tory motion on government handling of pandemic

The Conservative motion is to be put to a vote Monday and has the support of both the Bloc Québécois and NDP

Most Read