The countdown is on for the Sturgis North Music Festival, Trade Show and Motorcycle Rally.
Staring Wednesday and continuing to Sunday, July 22, motorcycle and music enthusiasts from around Canada and the U.S. will be heading up Highway 97, just northeast of Vernon, to rock and rumble to classic rock icons at Spallumcheen’s MotoPlex Speedway and Event Park.
After several months of inclement weather, the organizers are anticipating huge crowds of motorcyclists eager to finally get their motors running and head on down the highway.
The weather outlook is sunny and hot every day of the festival, which was plagued with five days of rain in its inaugural year last year in Salmon Arm, said Sturgis North president Ray Sasseville.
“Things are great. Ticket sales are good, the weather is good, other things are on schedule,” he told The Morning Star.
Organizers will start setting up for the festival on Sunday afternoon at the MotoPlex, using both the Nascar accredited race track as well as the surrounding grounds for the trade show and campground.
“(We) think it’s a great site. It’s got everything we need,” said Sasseville.
The festival starts early Wednesday with the first Charity Ride Poker Run, and will build momentum through the day with the opening ceremonies in the late afternoon.
Headliners Jerry Doucette and Rick Derringer will then kick off the first night of the music festival.
Foghat, best known for their hit Slow Ride, and Blue Öyster Cult (Don’t Fear the Reaper) headline on Thursday, while Friday features Fear Zero and March Hare, Patio Lanterns’ rocker Kim Mitchell, and former lead singer of Bad Company Brian Howe.
On July 21, Jasmine Cain, a Sturgis South Dakota favourite and 2012 North American female rocker of the year, takes the stage Joan Jett style, followed by Nick Gilder and Sweeney Todd (Roxy Roller, Hot Child in the City), and Canadian icons The Guess Who (sans Bachman and Cummings) who will play all their venerable hits.
The stage on July 22 features another Canadian fave, The Stampeders at 8 p.m., closing with Stray Cat Lee Rocker and his famous rockabilly sound at 10 p.m.
Rounding out the Sunday schedule is Farrell Webber with his tribute to The Doobie Brothers and Stevie Ray Vaughan and renowned Snake Oil Sinners, who perform a classic rock music review.
Bands start at noon daily and at 11 a.m. on the Sunday and play throughout the afternoon and evening with a break at 4:30 p.m. for the Bike Builders Award presentation.
In addition to the 25 live music performances, there will be daily interactive exhibits and features such as bike rodeos, bike rallies and poker runs. The world’s largest operational Harley will be on display, along with a balance wheelie simulator, a $400,000 trike display, cabbage patch wrestling matches, tattoo booths, and merchandise and food vendors.
The biker build off will include celebrity judges, including three-time world champion Roger Goldammer,
Festival goers can get general admission passes to the trade show for $20, which allows general grounds and trade show admission, and an opportunity to come out and enjoy the atmosphere and displays. The value can then be applied to the festival concert pass price. One, three and five-day passes are available for both the festival and camping.
For more festival and camping ticket information, go to www.sturgisnorth.com or call 1-800-805-0089