By Heather Cameron
Westwind Weekly News
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The first-ever Cornstock will grace the outdoor area of the Taber Legion Youth Center from July 28-29 courtesy of Spider Entertainment.
“We really liked the name Cornstock just simply because of corn dealing with Taber and playing off Woodstock, which is probably the most famous outdoor music festival ever,” said Ken Holst, the owner of Spider Entertainer and main organizer of Cornstock.
Holst says that Friday’s lineup, which kicks off at 12 P.M. on July 28, will feature Trainwreck, Runaway – a Bon Jovi Tribute Band, Toronto, and Honeymoon Suite on the Friday. Saturday’s lineup will feature Dusty Road Band, Ransom Note, Voltage 177, Another Simple Solution, YYC – Calgary’s Premier RUSH Tribute Band, Harlequin, and Prism.
“I’ve had probably 50 requests from different bands that are smaller opening bands who want to come play, but I had the whole event filled as far as the acts in January because we had to get the posters out,” Holst said. “I’ve also had a huge response from all over Canada from bands who want to come play next year here at Cornstock, so it’s really taken off.”
In addition to the bands, Holst says that there will be beer gardens, food trucks, merchandise, and other activities available to do on site. People will also be able to camp out close to the venue, Holst says, but the camping spaces are mostly sold out.
“We wanna make this one that stands out and it’s a special thing for people where they want to keep coming back for years and years,” Holst said.
Advertising for Cornstock, Holst says, only started a couple of weeks prior and has already attracted a great deal of attention.
“Social media has really been very active in talking about it, especially locally here,” Holst said. “Even as far away as Edmonton, we’ve got responses from radio stations and news outlets wanting to do interviews and wanting to run contests for people to come down to Cornstock.”
Holst says that he and his wife originally came up with the idea for Cornstock because they are huge concert goers and went to 17 concerts together in parts of Canada and the United States before COVID hit. Once the lockdowns lifted, Holst says, he and his wife really wanted to see people out and about again.
“We thought it was good timing, so we thought instead of going to so many concerts, why don’t we start bringing concerts down and see how that would work as a business?” Holst said. “And that’s kind of where Spider Entertainment started, and we did the small concerts and then we kind of took a leap of faith going into these larger events and bringing in much larger acts and doing it on a much larger scale over two days.”
Holst and his wife began their work in Spider Entertainment in June 2022 by bringing a band called Toque to Taber. Toque, Holst says, is a group of famous artists who grew up in Canada, but now reside in the United States with various careers in the music industry. Holst says that in November 2022, Spider Entertainment also brought Aaron Goodman to Taber for a concert.
“This draws so many people to town and does such a wonderful thing for the town of Taber itself,” Holst said. “Not only does it draw a lot of people and sell a lot of hotel rooms and gallons of gas and hamburgers and whatever else as people come and buy in town, but also the notoriety of where Taber is. I’ve had so many people message me and say, “You know, where is Taber? You know, I’ve never heard of Taber before.” It’s been a real notoriety in putting Taber on the map, especially the musical map, as far as festivals that are happening go. Other famous ones happen all throughout Canada, and we hope we’re kind of on the map for that as well. There a lot of benefits for the town of Taber and the surrounding area.”
As excited as Holst is for Cornstock, he admits that they are still looking for support from sponsors and ticket sales. Holst says that there are 2,000 tickets available for Cornstock 2023, as that is the capacity of the venue.
“This is going to be, in a lot of people’s minds, the biggest outdoor Canadian classic rock festival that southern Alberta has ever had,” Holst said. “We don’t think we’ve ever had anything like this. So to be part of it as a participant, a spectator or a sponsor is a huge opportunity and we can only make it grow and make it bigger and again, benefit everybody, and the whole area.”
For more information about Cornstock 2023, visit https://www.spiderentertainment.ca/shows/cornstock/.