At 84, cowboy troubadour Ian Tyson doesn't pull any punches.

So when he tells you something is "great" you believe him.

Great is his take on the Horizon Stage in Spruce Grove west of Edmonton.

"Great sightlines, good sound and the setting there kind of creates a vibe that sets up a good show," Tyson said.

Brandi Wurtz

Theatre manager Brandi Wurtz programs 200 events a year at the Horizon Stage Performing Arts Centre in Spruce Grove, Alta. (John Robertson/CBC)

Last month the singer songwriter, who penned classics like Four Strong Winds and Someday Soon, played the opening concerts of the 35th anniversary season of the Horizon Stage.

Designed by famed Canadian architect Douglas Cardinal and opened in 1983 the biggest selling feature for this 318 seats venue, is its intimacy, according to theatre manger Brandi Wurtz.

"When you stand here and you look out and you know that the farthest person from you is eight rows away that's pretty special and we get some really incredible talent in here," she said.

'35 years later and still going strong'1:55

The list includes artists like Tom Jackson, Tommy Banks, Michael Kaeshammer, Charlie A'Court and Ian Tyson, who's graced the Horizon Stage a total of 48 times over the years, Wurtz said.

"It's a place that grew from grassroots people who wanted to enrich the lives of the community and here we are 35 years later and still going strong."

Don Waddle calls the venue a "gem in the community" which showcases 200 events every year.

The technical services coordinator has been at the helm of Horizon Stage's sound and lighting for the past 28 years.

Don Waddle

Technical services coordinator Don Waddle tunes up the soundboard for an upcoming performance. (John Robertson/CBC)

Some of Waddle's favourite memories are of helping artists like Ian Tyson and his crew through audio checks, to spotlight cues, even unloading equipment.

"Tyson was traveling with the bigger band and he would always show up here with all his gear in the back of a cattle trailer," recalls Waddle.

The care and attention left an impression on the cowboy crooner.

"I've played all these halls, small, medium and large. Don Waddle is a real professional and a detail guy," Tyson said.

"I've always like the Horizon Stage."

You can see more from the Horizon Stage in Spruce Grove on Our Edmonton Saturday at 10 a.m. and Sunday and Monday at 11 a.m. on CBC TV.

Horizon Stage Performing Arts Centre

Eight rows of 318 seats gives the Horizon Stage a sense of intimacy. (Adrienne Lamb/CBC)