Country Thunder brought out their boots this year to kick out Cowtown from selling western wear on festival grounds.
After having a booth for about 20 years, Lammles, a similar business, took their place.
But Cowtown continues to sell cowboy hats and t-shirts offsite after the Craven bar allowed them to set up a booth right outside.
General Manger Randy Lamontagne, who lives in Craven, said he’s disappointed.
“You expect when you give them your loyalty, you get a little back,” he said.
“There was no forethought put to it at all, like no chance for a discussion on it,” said Lamontagne, adding they only got a heads up about three weeks ago and they’ve been purchasing merchandise since January. “You’re continuously planning for the next year. As they’re planning for their event, we’re planning.”
He said being included in Country Thunder isn’t about the money. Instead, it’s about community.
“By the time you pay for the booth space, and we’ve been buying a VIP tent, sharing it with some business partners for the last number of years. By the time you pay for all that and pay your staff to be here and all the extras, we don’t come out of it money ahead. So it’s not a profit generating show for us, but it’s part of our community — it’s our customers, it’s our friends, it’s our families, it’s something local,” said Lamontagne.
The good news, as he explains, is that streams of supporters are coming.
He said if he compares the first day of the festival offsite to previous years when he’s been onsite, the business is about the same.
Lamontagne emphasizes he has “no ill will” towards Lammles.
“Competition’s good; competition’s healthy…my disappointment is with the festival itself,” he said.
980 CJME reached out to Country Thunder for a response, but they refused to comment saying they don’t talk about internal business deals.
RCMP say calls have spiked
Saturday was a busy one for police compared to previous days of this year’s Country Thunder.
RCMP received a total of 39 calls. Among those calls were one impaired driver, one drug possession, five assaults and two reports of missing people who they say were quickly found.
They also arrested 18 people on Saturday compared to eight on Friday.
As for traffic, police pulled over a total of 380 vehicles and impounded four, gave 75 warnings and 93 charges and suspended two licenses because of alcohol consumption.
However, RCMP said as the festival gets into its last day, the event has been “relatively smooth and pleasant.”