'Biggest party in country music history' coming to Hamilton fan village, CCMA says

The Canadian Country Music Association is promising that their new fan village will host, next month, the "biggest party in country music history."

The fan village will be open Sept. 7-9

Shania Twain performs on her NOW tour at the United Center on Saturday, May 19, 2018, in Chicago. (Photo by Rob Grabowski/Invision/AP) (Rob Grabowski/Invision/Associated Press)

The Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) is promising that their new fan village will host, next month, the "biggest party in country music history." 

The CCMA announced this week the fan village will host meet-and-greet opportunities, live DJ performances, food trucks and daily giveaways. And organizers say, it's entirely free. 

The Canadian Country Music Awards show comes to Hamilton on Sept. 9. Organizers say it's an opportunity for fans to interact with country artists. 

Organizers also announced on Tuesday that Jess Moskaluke, Kira Isabella and Madeline Merlo will open the show with a tribute to Canadian country legend Shania Twain. They'll each perform one of Twain's songs before the superstar joins them onstage to begin her hosting duties. The event takes place at Hamilton's FirstOntario Centre and will be broadcast live on the CBC. The red carpet gets underway at 6 p.m. and the award show starts at 8 p.m.

It's a "girl power" moment Moskaluke says she never dreamed would happen. She's been a longtime Twain fan and credits the country singer with giving her confidence to pursue a music career. 

"I had every album, I know every word to every song — whether it was a single or not," Moskaluke says. "I remember her music always being a part of my life."

The show will be broadcast live on the CBC

Before the show there will be a number of concerts where fans will be able to hear up-and-coming names in the industry at the fan village. 

"This three-day, acoustic performance series is sure to inspire and evoke strong emotions in all who attend; so make a point of stopping by for a listen — you'll be glad you did," read the event's website.

Artists like Jason Benoit, Andrew Hyatt and Leaving Thomastake will take to the stage in a showcase for the title of "Top of the Country" and a prize of $25,000.

The fan village will be open Sept. 7-9 and will be located at the Impark Lot (at Market and Bay Street), across from FirstOntario Centre.

Fans will also have the opportunity to run in the first-ever CCMA Country Run. The 5-kilometre race ends with a pancake breakfast.  

After that runners can take photos with artists like Terri Clark, Tim Hicks, Hunter Brothers, Brett Kissel, Jess Moskaluke, Meghan Patrick, Dallas Smith, The Reklaws and The Washboard Union.

Before the big event on Sunday, there's going to be a countdown concert with Shawn Austin, Dan Davidson, Aaron Goodvin, Kira Isabella, Ryan Langdon, Leaving Thomas, The Lovelocks, JoJo Mason, PETRIC and Bobby Wills.

Madeline Merlo gave one of a dozen performances at the Budweiser Gardens in London. (Dave Chidley/Canadian Press)

With files from The Canadian Press

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