Charlie Daniels brings his redneck fiddle noise to my old hometown for the Chilliwack Country Music Festival



By Steve Newton

Whether you’re a big country music fan or just someone who enjoys partying in the sun with several thousand other folks, the Chilliwack Fairgrounds was the place to be over the long weekend. Twenty-four bands performed, much beer was consumed, and it looked like everyone was having a jolly good time.

One of the main attractions of the festival was southern rocker Charlie Daniels, who headlined Saturday’s (August 4) lineup. Necks don’t get much redder than Charlie’s–his intolerance is strongly stated on his most recent single, “Simple Man”–but if you can get past his rather mean outlook, there’s some tasty, country-fried rock to enjoy.

Daniels came running onstage with his trusty fiddle and headed right into “The Legend of Wooley Swamp”, his crack band delivering the goods alongside that hectic fiddle noise. “I got into a little bit of trouble with this song,” said Daniels when he introduced his redneck ode “Simple Man”, “but I just feel strongly about some things.” The tune, which trumpets the gun-toting, good-ol’-boy way of life, went over pretty well with the crowd, but Daniels was even more of a hit when he went back to the ’70s for “Long-Haired Country Boy” and “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”.

Glen Campbell and Buck Owens were the other big draws for the event, which pulled in 30,000 people during three days. When they weren’t taking in other feature acts like Southern Pacific, Mel McDaniel, and Asleep at the Wheel, festival-goers laughed at some sensational roving mimes or checked out the square-dancing in front of the stage. And of course there was the beer garden, which did roaring business. Even the famed Chilliwack mosquitoes–which can be extremely fierce at this time of year–did their part and stayed away. My only beef was that the festival didn’t carry over to Monday.

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