Langley twins Chris and Jamie Ruscheinski are once again getting together with 5,000 of their closest friends this weekend, to celebrate country music while raising money for cancer.
But this year, that crowd will include a larger number of guests who will be treated like royalty thanks to their increased generosity towards sick kids and Canuck Place.
The sixth annual Gone Country – Here for the Cure cancer fundraiser happens this Saturday, July 21, from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. and the massive adult-only outdoor country concert is already sold out.
Days ahead of the event, the last of the general admission tickets were snatched up, and Chris said an “incredible” team of volunteers has been working tirelessly to make sure the fundraiser is bigger, badder, and better than ever before.
“It’s one big outdoor concert, for one day only, and every single penny raised goes to fight cancer,” said Chris.
Since the sold-out event has no possibility to expand in it current location at the Bill Reid Millennium Amphitheatre in Cloverdale, the Ruscheinski boys began casting around for new and innovative ways to raise more money within their physical parameters – both anxious to surpass the half-million dollar ceiling they shattered in 2017.
To help achieve that goal, the twins came up with a way to up the ante. They added the International Motorsports Lounge with room for 250 people at $100 a pop.
The show already has a VIP section, where large tables are purchased, and those guests are given dinner and a few other special treats including as part of their package such as a no-money casino and axe-throwing, among other games and vendors.
Well, the lounge (situated next to the second stage) is like an extension of the VIP section, but tickets were sold on an individual basis, Chris explained, noting this section comes with complimentary food and a number of motorcycles on display.
The best part of this new addition, Chris said, is the increase in money being raised for the cause.
“It’s an extra $25,000 raised on top of the VIP section that generates about $100,000 each year,” Chris explained.
In total, last year’s show generated $520,000, including a large chunk of the cash that was directed specifically to furnishing rooms at the Canuck Place children’s hospice in Abbotsford.
With a goal this year of raising $600,000, the donations are again earmarked for Canuck Place, and specifically towards buying a bus for the hospice, as well as some special equipment for children in wheelchairs.
“The bus has been purchased, and will be ready to roll the day after the event,” said Chris, excitedly announcing that it will be on site for Gone Country concert.
There are cancer awareness and fundraising elements woven throughout the event – from a larger tribute chalkboard to merchandise sales, and from games and a mechanic bull to information booths – but a large part of what makes this cancer event so special is the music, said Chris.
This year’s line up includes one of his all-time favourite bands, the Washboard Union, returning to the show again, along with their friend and fellow event promoter singer Karen Lee Batten of Langley.
Other entertainment includes Gord Bamford, The Tumblin’ Dice, Rollin’ Trainwreck, Jesse Allen Harris, and Andrew Christopher, and DJ Jaxon Hawks.
“It’s going to be fun,” Chris said.
But more important, it’s fun mixed in a dose of compassion to help those living with cancer.
“We have always preferred flip-flops and tank tops over high heels and bow ties. Give us great tunes over long speeches any day. Sunsets and cold drinks mixed with great people gets even better knowing every penny goes to fight cancer,” he concluded.