Aaron Pritchett performs at the Concert Under The Stars at Thalassa Restaurant on July 7, 2016. Pritchett is back this year for a double-whammy performance August 9 and 10. — File

Canadian country star Aaron Pritchett returning to Qualicum Beach

Concert Under the Stars has two shows, two causes to support

The Concert Under the Stars is looking to have twice the fun and do twice the good this year, with a pair of shows set to raise funds for two causes.

The first Concert Under the Stars took place last year after co-owner of Thalassa Restaurant Oura Giakoumakis successfully secured Canadian country artist Aaron Pritchett as a headliner.

“I just started Facebooking and messaging people and going ‘Hi, this is my story, will you do a concert on my lawn?’” said Giakoumakis in a previous interview with The NEWS.

That first concert raised about $17,000 — enough to pay for one family to stay at Ronald McDonald House for a year, said Giakoumakis.

“It’s pretty cool, it’s a pretty amazing feeling,” she said of the money raised.

“Having family that stayed there, you don’t realize the importance when they live far away, that they have a room to go to, a warm bed, the kids have someone to talk to, and the families have other people to associate with who understand what they’re going through.”

But this year, Giakoumakis said she hopes both concerts, taking place Aug. 9 and 10, sell out with Pritchett once again the headliner.

The Wednesday, August 9 concert will once again benefit Ronald McDonald House, while proceeds from the following day’s concert will go to the B.C. Cancer Foundation’s new PET/CT machine.

“Both causes are extremely awesome,” said Pritchett. “I love being a part of these because I know where the money’s going and I know somebody like Oura, who is holding this event again this year, puts all the money, as much as she can raise and as many tickets as she can sell, she puts the money back into those charities. I’m always proud to be a part of them.”

Pritchett said he was excited to be asked to not only headline the show again, but for two nights.

He said he’s excited for the venue once again, as it offers a closer, more intimate opportunity for him to play a solo, acoustic show where he can play his music and tell his stories.

There are sure to be some exciting stories at that, as Pritchett’s career has ramped up once again with a pair of nominations for the upcoming Canadian Country Music Association Awards.

“I’m honoured because it’s been about eight years since I was nominated last,” said Pritchett, who will be up for the Male Artist of the Year award, and the Video of the Year award in September. “There’s points in that eight years where you figure, ‘Well I guess my career’s done and I’m over, and all these new artists are coming up and my chances of getting air play amongst them is pretty slim, but sure enough, I’ve kept at it and with a little tenacity but also a little bit of luck, things worked out really well.”

“I’m really excited about that and very proud, obviously. It’s been a long time, and it feels nice to be back in the fold.”

Much of the success comes from Pritchett’s latest album, The Score, released in 2016.

His single, When a Momma’s Boy Meets a Daddy’s Girl is up for video of the year, and on August 2 (his birthday), he released another single, VW Bus, the first song from that 2016 album.

Pritchett said the Qualicum Beach concerts will feature singles from The Score, as well as others from throughout his career, all of which retain that rock edge, even with an acoustic, solo show, he said.

Island group Backstage Whiskey opens both concerts. Doors open at 5 p.m., with performances starting at 7:30 p.m. The Extreme Eatz food truck will be there until 8:30 p.m. and the bar is open until midnight.

The concerts take place in front of the Thalassa Restaurant, with tickets ranging from $35 to $50 and available at eventbrite.ca. For more details, call the restaurant at 250-594-1150.

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