• By: OLM Staff

Gearing Up for Capital Hoedown 2011

“Ottawa is going to be floored at what we have in store for them.” Denis Benoit, the man behind Capital Hoedown, seems more excited than anyone about the results of the festival’s second running in Ottawa.

Benoit, President and CEO of Concert International, came up with the concept for Capital Hoedown in 2008. Initially, the first event was to take place in the summer of 2009, but after discovering the amount of work involved, Benoit decided to push the date back one year to ensure the event could launch in the highest quality.

So, in the summer of 2010, Capital Hoedown was born. The event debuted to rave reviews, with media headlines such as “Capital Hoedown a Rip Roaring Success” giving the Concert International team the drive it needed to make this years’ show even better. Benoit describes receiving over 1000 emails from fans and people who had attended the event, offering praise and suggestions for how to improve for the following year. “I personally read all of them myself, and we’ve addressed a lot of the issues we had last year and listened to what people wanted,” says Benoit.

Listen they did. Capital Hoedown is back, and it is BIG.

“Our production this year – staging, sound, light, video – is going to be the biggest production since the Rolling Stones were here. We want to create an experience, it’s not just going to see a band perform.”

Benoit explains that it is now the country shows, such as that of one of Capital Hoedown’s headliners, Kenny Chesney, that are leading the pack in live show experience. Naturally, the show must match the caliber of the artists – and, says Benoit, “we didn’t hold back this year.”

In addition to Chesney, this year’s acts include Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Rascal Flatts, Doc Walker and Sara Evans. Even the opening acts are huge, with Mackenzie Porter, Tara Oram, Jason Blaine, Billy Currington, Wyatt, The Keats, Justin Moore and Easton Corbin rounding out the line-up.

Benoit explains that country music is the fastest climbing genre of music, with more artists crossing over to targeting the younger demographic. Favourites like Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift penetrate mainstream radio stations, while acts like Zac Brown Band and Rascal Flatts have released monster hits that are staples on any person’s iPod – country fan or not.

So how did Benoit choose this year’s A-List line-up? “I’m a huge country fan, and I like putting shows together from the perspective of a fan. I shopped for my favourites, and it just worked out. We have the biggest country acts – even our opening acts are huge!” Says Benoit, “we really lucked out this year.”

For those of you who believe you don’t like country music – you’re wrong. As a die-hard country music fan, I have converted many a naysayer into a country-lover. Benoit says that anyone who is not a country fan who comes to Capital Hoedown this year will leave a country fan. The friendly atmosphere of the festival paired with the feel good party music of this year’s line-up make Capital Hoedown Ottawa’s biggest summer party – a party that no one should miss.

Says Benoit, “a lot of festivals come and go, and we’re going to be the one to stay. We’re just going to get bigger and bigger. People always ask me how it can get better after what we have in store this year, and I say – stay tuned.”


Capital Hoedown runs from August 11 to 13 at Le Breton Flats in Ottawa. For more information visit www.capitalhoedown.net