Atlantic Canada has a new Country Music Festival, Dooly’s Beach Blast, which has come and gone this past weekend.  The show took place at Parlee Beach, Shediac New Brunswick.  This event will not be forgotten and will talked about for sometime.  Some talk will be for good reasons and some for not so good reasons.  I will not discuss some the issues that occurred during this festival as I feel organizers have already heard the complaints from the public.  But I will say that the issues that occurred can easily be fixed and I am sure staff and organizers will listen to the fans and make sure these issues do not happen again next.

What I want to discuss is the all the good in this event.  Starting with the lineup of artists. The lineup consisted of some of our best Canadian Acts and or course the headliners of the show, Florida Georgia Line.  But after witnessing the entire show I would say each of these artists are headliners themselves.  I will say for a one day event, Beach Blast had a stellar lineup or artists.  And less face it, its the acts that we truly go to watch perform.

The day started off with Canada’s own Riki Knox from Ontario, although I believe she has some strong ties to the Maritimes.  Riki is no stranger to the Maritimes having performed last year during CCMA Music week in Halifax.  And of course her band for this event consisted of some fellow Maritimers as well.  Solo Country artist Amanda Riley on keyboard and background vocals and the super talented and in demand  Band Leader Shaky White on Bass.  Riki always puts on a strong show and this event was no exception.

Dustin Lynch a Tennesse Native is a stand out artist and could easily be the headliner of his own show.  Opening and touring with the likes of Keith Urban and Luke Bryan.  Lynch has racked up over 25 million views on Youtube and his second album has sold more than 750,000 tracks making this album #1 on the charts in its debut.  Fans were treated to his hit songs Hell of a  Night and Where it’s At.

Following Lynch’s appearance was Easton Corbin who has some impressive accolades to see the least.  He was the first male country artist to have his first two singles go number one and Billboard naming him the Top Country Artist of 2010.  Corbin is so talented and makes performing look easy on stage.  His sound is smooth.  The only way I can describe him would be Michael Buble meets country.  Of course he would not go without performing some of his greatest hits along with some new music.

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Now, as I country Music fan, and a Canadian Country Music Fan, I have to admit I was pretty excited for the next artist.  I have seen Dallas Smith perform on at least 3 other occasions and enjoy his show more and more.  Dallas to date is the most exciting artist I have ever tried to photograph.  He is high energy constantly moving and always having to watch out for flying cellphones.  Dallas is known to catch fans cellphones , snap selfies while continuing to sing without missing beat.  This is a skill in its own.  I am not sure if fans may have observed it when Dallas caught one particular cellphone.  When he looked at the screen you could see him laugh and smirk.  It would be interesting to know what it was he actually saw on that fan’s cellphone.  But in usual fashion, he continued to sing, snapped a selfie and threw the cellphone back.  As I said earlier, these artists could easily headline their own tour and I know many fans would fill the seats at Dallas’ shows.  He is the perfect rock meets country combination and deserving of his CCMA Album of the year Award for 2015.

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Heading into the show, of course I was excited for FGL and not really thinking about the live show of Cole Swindell.  Now, I am a fan of his music and have been for awhile now but man, his live show is second to none.  His fan interaction, his energy, his story telling, laughter, smiles, sadness and tears made for what I would have to say the highlight of the night for me.  I have an entire new appreciation for Cole Swindell so much in fact I went right to iTunes and purchased his new music to go along with the hits I already purchased.  Swindell who is touring with FGL, stated it was his job to warm up the audience and prepare them for FGL.   Is this was the warm up,  Beach Blast was in for one hell of show with FGL. At that was just the case.

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FGL took the stage and excited the audience.  It was like a pool of perineas with people rushing to get closer to the stage.    FGL treated the fans to all of their greatest hits including the performance of  H.O.L.Y for the first time live in Canada.  Halifax  was lucky enough to get a taste of FGL last year at CCMA but Beach Blast was even more lucky to get the entire feast.  FGL rocked the night away until the fire works kicked off marking the end of the first year for Beach Blast.

I have read some of the complaints and even witnessed some of the issues first hand but in the end the line up artists of this calibre at one place on the same day in the Maritimes is a spectacular feat in its own.  I am sure this event will learn from their mistakes and grow and earn back the fans that were left unhappy.

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James Bennett / @jb_photos