This year’s Gone Country benefit concert at Cloverdale Fairgrounds has been sold out for close to six weeks, giving organizers a feeling of accomplishment.
“It’s amazing,” said Chris Ruscheinski, who founded the event with his twin brother, Jamie. “It’s come a long way from when we practically begged people to buy a ticket.”
Last year’s concert raised close to $651,000 for cancer-related causes, with at least as much anticipated when the event returns to Bill Reid Millennium Amphitheatre on Saturday, July 20.
This year’s show, the seventh edition in Cloverdale, will be feature performances by Aaron Pritchett, George Canyon, Dan Davidson and other country artists, from 2 to 11 p.m.
In 2018, Gone Country sold out about a week in advance, Ruscheinski said. The year before, the final few tickets were snapped up on event day.
“It’s a huge relief to know we’ll have enough money to pay for the event,” he said.
“The event has really taken off, and kind of has a life of its own now.”
A small army of volunteers helps plan and run the benefit concert, which will raise money for B.C. Cancer Foundation this time around. Many sponsors also help make Gone Country happen.
At nightclubs and pubs, the Ruscheinski brothers first launched cancer-fundraiser events in memory of their mother, who died of breast cancer almost two decades ago.
“Since then,” says a post on their twinscancerfundraising.com website, “we have lost our step-sister, our grandfather, as well as our great friend Shaun G. This has only added gasoline to our fire. We are not going to stand idly by while it continues to attack the ones we love. Your generosity and continued support is greatly appreciated.”