Music, cowboy hats, and rain: Cavendish Beach Music Festival kicks off

Thousands of country music fans have flocked to Cavendish, P.E.I., for the annual Cavendish Beach Music Festival.

Organizers expect thousands of people during the four-day festival

After a delay due to weather, the 2018 Cavendish Beach Music Festival kicked off Friday afternoon. (John Robertson/CBC)

Thousands of country music fans have flocked to Cavendish, P.E.I. for the annual Cavendish Beach Music Festival. 

The festival got underway Friday afternoon after weather delays. The gates had been scheduled to open at noon, but the risk of thunder and lightning kept them closed until 3 p.m.

"We have high expectations it's gonna get better," said festival-goer Will Smith, from Nova Scotia, who is attending the event with friend Sam Duguay. The two were still enthusiastic despite the rain. 

"We're still here, we're going to have some fun," Duguay said. 

Preparing for a busy weekend

Now in its 10th year, the festival draws thousands of people annually and for local tourism operators, that means preparing for a busy weekend. 

Despite the rain, Will Smith, left, and Sam Duguay were full of excitement for the festival to kick off. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

At Chez Yvonne's Restaurant in Cavendish, owner Paul Larkin knows to prepare for an influx of people. 

"Keep cooking. Cook lots of product. Prep lots of product. We find breakfasts have been very busy, lunches are busy, we're busy right through the afternoon to the early part of the evening," said Larkin.

Te crowds at his restaurant seem to be growing each year, Larkin said, adding the festival gives a good boost to the area.

Extra security measures

Nearby at Fairways Cottages, just down the road from the festival, owner Sandi Lowther said she takes extra measures to prepare for the festival weekend. 

Staff at Chez Yvonne's restaurant are ready for a busy weekend. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

"We're not one bit worried about what's happening at Fairways but because of our location, the foot traffic is really heavy going by our property," Lowther said.

It is the only weekend during the season when the business hires security — officers patrol the property from 8 p.m. until 2 a.m. 

"Basically they just walk up and down the front of our property to ensure that the festival goers keep on trucking," Lowther said.

She also gets renters to sign contracts to follow certain rules over the weekend, including no additional guests at the cottages.

The owner of nearby Sunset Campground said he also has extra security measures in place over the weekend. 

Thousands of people expected

The festival typically draws 17,000 to 22,000 people per day and organizers have said this year could see record crowds. 

Thousands of people attend the Cavendish Beach Music Festival each year. (John Robertson/CBC)

Country music star Luke Bryan will headline Sunday evening — and tickets for that day have sold out.

Other performers include Dallas Smith, Brett Eldredge and Shawn Mendes, who will close out the festival Monday evening. 

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With files from Nicole Williams