By Matthew Liebenberg
For the SW Booster
The Taking it to the Streets community appreciation concert will be back for the fifth year running with musical entertainment to get everyone dancing.
The 2023 Taking it to the Streets concert takes place at Kinetic Park in Swift Current on Aug. 20, featuring Saskatchewan’s Johner Brothers and headlined by Nashville-based country artist Aaron Goodvin.
Event co-organizer Leanne Tuntland-Wiebe from Bumper to Bumper Great West Auto Electric feels really excited about the performers at this year’s concert.
“Aaron Goodvin did a national tour earlier this year and it went over huge,” she said. “He’s big in the States now. And for the summer, he wants to just hit venues like ours. … He’s got top hits on the radio right now. He just released a new single, which I think is going to be a huge summer hit.”
Alberta-born Goodvin is a chart-topping artist with a lot of accolades since releasing his self-titled debut album in 2016. His song Lonely Drum has achieved double platinum status.
“Lonely Drum was a huge hit for line dancers,” Tuntland-Wiebe noted, “Every concert Aaron goes to, there’s always a flash dance mob that comes out and starts dancing to that. So I’m hoping that happens in Swift Current and to his new song as well. It’s kind of set up the same. He’s looking for people to be dancing. So I’m looking for people to be having a really good time.”
Goodvin has two number one singles and seven top 10 hits. He has received several JUNO and Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) nominations.
His second album, titled V, was released in 2019 and received a JUNO nomination. Both albums were critically acclaimed and he won the 2018 CCMA Songwriter of the Year award.
The singer’s agent told Tuntland-Wiebe that Goodvin enjoys talking to people after his show and he will stay until the last person who wants to meet him.
“That’s wonderful to have an artist want to thank the people that came to hear him play,” Tuntland-Wiebe said. “That’s the kind of attitude that he has. So we’re really looking forward to him perform, because he performs for the people.”
Goodvin performed earlier in his musical career in Swift Current, when he was the opening act at a Frontier Days concert six years ago. Tuntland-Wiebe had an opportunity to speak to him then, because she happened to sit behind his family in the audience.
“Aaron came up after the concert and his first question to his family was how did it go,” she recalled. “They all stood up and they hugged him, because it was a super concert. So I leaned over and I shook his hand. And at that time, I said ‘You can come back anytime.’ And I’m so proud, because it’s me that’s bringing him back as a headliner.”
She is also looking forward to the concert’s opening performance by the Johner Brothers and the Johner Boys.
“It’s going to be a high energy concert from them,” she said. “And it’s hitting the people who remember the Johner Brothers from the 90s. They were the entertainment group of the decade in the 90s. And we’ve got the younger flavour coming on with them. because the boys are along and they should appeal to the younger generation. So I’m quite pumped about it.”
Brad and Ken Johner were a very successful duo when they performed as the Johner Brothers from 1988 to 2001. They recorded six hit albums and won multiple awards over the years, including the Saskatchewan Country Music Association Entertainer of the Decade award in 1999.
Brad continued a successful solo career after Ken’s retirement from the music business in 2002, but now they are back together again and with musical backup by three of Brad’s sons.
“I can hardly wait,” Tuntland-Wiebe said about their opening performance at the concert. “To have the brothers get back together again and have the family aspect with them, with the boys. That’s just a whole new fun thing. So I know they’re going to have a blast.”
The inaugural Taking it to the Streets concert in 2019 was held in downtown Swift Current. Thereafter it was held in the parking lot at Kinetic Park for two years and in 2022 it moved to the grandstand at Kinetic Park. She is happy that it will again be in the grandstand, because it provided a great venue for last year’s event.
“That atmosphere in the arena last year was really humming,” she said. “People were coming and going, and they were talking and visiting. I think the grandstands are the perfect place.”
This year’s concert will have a similar atmosphere, because there will be various activities in the arena. SaskAbilities and Special Olympics will host a booth for bottled water and door prizes, and there will be merchandise tents, face painting for the kids and ice cream treats by Dairy King.
In addition, this concert will be part of the day-long Come Together event in Swift Current on Aug. 19 that will make the city the place to be during that weekend.
“This is the third year for Come Together with the different events,” she said. “It’s an easy and a good way to market Swift Current itself. … So come to Swift Current, bring your whole family to a whole day of events and then you wrap up at the concert.”
Downtown businesses will already start their sidewalk days sales on Aug. 17 and it carries on until Aug. 19.
Other Come Together activities on Aug. 19 include the downtown farmer’s market and other vendors on Market Square from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and the Eliminators Car Club 43rd Annual Riverside Run show and shine at Elmwood Park from noon to 4 p.m.
Several activities will take place at Kinetic Park during the day. There will be food trucks all day and the Doc’s Town tea room is open from 1-5 p.m.
The Taking it to the Dirt bull riding event will take place at 5 p.m. at Kinetic Park’s Magnus Newland Arena. The Taking it to the Streets concert starts at 7 p.m. in the grandstands (doors open 6 p.m.). There will be beer gardens and a cabaret at the Palliser Pavilion. The cabaret starts at 10:30 p.m., featuring Third Degree Birnz (no minors allowed).
The Taking it to the Streets concert was started as an event for the community and to also raise funds for local non-profit organizations. Strong sponsorship support from the local business community helps to keep the concert ticket prizes reasonable at $25 each for adults (18 and up) and free admission for 17 and under.
“I think it’s the cheapest concert you can go to in Saskatchewan and get high-caliber entertainment, and you’re also helping out the community,” Tuntland-Wiebe said. “And we always keep under 18 free. That’s the whole point of having it family-friendly. You can bring your kids to this and it’s not an added expense for you. … I just want people to come on out and have fun, starting with Come Together and all the events. It is totally a full day. It’s a destination to come to Swift Current on August 19th.”
Advance tickets for the Taking it to the Streets concert as well as the bull riding and cabaret are available at Bumper to Bumper Great West Auto Electric, Pharmasave, Swift Current Ag & Ex, and Swift Current City Hall. An all-event pass and different ticket combinations for the events are also available. More details are available at the Taking it to the Streets website: www.takingittothestreets.ca