By Lethbridge Herald on September 26, 2020.
Canadian country music great George Canyon and his buddy Aaron Pritchett are coming to the Enmax Centre in Lethbridge on Oct. 1 to play two drive-in shows in support of local charities.
Pritchett and Canyon are co-headliners for the Big Screen Harvest Party tour which will make four stops, starting in Lethbridge before moving on to High River, Regina and Taber.
Canyon says he and his band are certainly not in line to make loads of money from these performances, but they hope to do their part to lift people’s spirits after a long spring and summer in the shadow of COVID-19.
“The costs of doing a show like this outweigh the profit margin, but it’s not about that,” Canyon says. “It’s about helping the hospital foundations, STARS Air Ambulance and the hospices. There are different things that are going to benefit from doing these types of shows right across the country. A lot of artists are doing them. It’s because these charities can’t have their fundraisers, and it’s going to end them. They go year to year on funds raised and donated, and this year they haven’t been able to do that. We can’t as a community allow that to happen … We’re glad we get to help out, for sure.”
Canyon says everybody has to do their part to help wherever they can when faced with the tough circumstances confronting the country and the province at the moment.
“Artists have always been called on in times of need, or crisis, or suffering, and we have always been there because that’s why we do what we do,” he explains. “We kind of go where we can and do what we can.”
Canyon also hopes to raise general awareness through this tour of the plight of performers with an industry that has essentially shut down these past seven months.
“Weathering this storm for the past seven months has been tough on all of us,” he admits, “and especially hard on new artists because they have no fan base to at least engage. Or they have a limited fan base, and they are trying to build their fan base. We need to help and encourage that level as well so we have an industry 10 or 20 years from now.”
Canyon says he is looking forward to performing live in Lethbridge even though it will be different from the types of shows he has played in the past both from a performer’s perspective and from an audience’s perspective.
“Lethbridge is a special town for me,” he says. “I have played Lethbridge since 1990. That’s how long we have been coming down there and playing. We are just excited to get to come down and make this our first stop. It will be good to at least see the fans in their vehicles. I promise we will come back again when we can all be in the same room together, and celebrate music, and have a great night of a kitchen party like we always had down there. That will happen again. We just have to get through all this together.”
Canyon released his latest single “Speed of Life” back in May. While the song is a new and interesting musical departure for him, and a reflection on his life now that he has turned 50, the song has also taken on a new dimension in light of all that has transpired in 2020 so far, he confirms.
“That’s a song we have had and have been trying to record for over two years, and the planets just didn’t align until right before COVID when we got it recorded and mixed,” Canyon recalls. “For me it was a time-sensitive song, it was timely for me, because I just turned 50. And even though I feel very young, and 50 is young in my opinion, I still kind of looked around and said, ‘Where did life go?’ For me it is just rippin’ buy. That song, for me, speaks mountains to how I feel in my life.”
Canyon says the best thing about heading out on tour for the Big Screen Harvest Party is having the chance to get out of his own little bubble and just have that feeling of being back on stage and experiencing that sense of the speed of life again.
“It makes such a big difference and it means so much to me personally to get back on stage,” he says. “For 10 or 12 weeks I did weekly, full-out concerts online for the fans and I was staring down the lens of a camera. I was grateful I got to do that, but when you finish a song and even if it was booing and not clapping you are happy to have that (audience) engagement. But it was nothing. It was crickets. So I am looking forward to at least hearing car horns go off maybe now and again.”
Canyon speaks for both himself and Pritchett in wanting people coming out to the Enmax shows to forget their worries for a few hours, and just generally have a good time.
“It’s going to be a blast,” he says. “And if it is a little chilly, turn your heater on. Or bundle up if you are on the backs of your pickup trucks. It is a very unique thing, and it may be the only time you get to experience it. When we recover from this, we may not be doing drive-in shows again. It can be something you tell your kids, your grandkids and your great grandkids down the road.”
The Big Screen Harvest Party concerts in Lethbridge kick off at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Tickets are available at http://www.enmaxcentre.ca or by calling (403) 329-7328.
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