Country artist Aaron Pritchett will be performing at Thalassa Restaurant on July 7. Ticket sales go toward Ronald McDonald House

Aaron Pritchett coming to Qualicum Beach for Ronald McDonald House fundraiser

Pritchett, who recently opened two shows for Garth Brooks, will be playing the small outdoor venue

The Concert Under The Stars is just over a week away, and if you ask Oura Giakoumakis how it all came about, she’d say: “I just asked.”

“I am the crazy person who, I guess we would say, that I ask and then realize it’s happening,” said Giakoumakis the organizer for Concert Under The Stars.

“I asked. It was like 3 a.m. and I was like I really want to do this, so I started going down the country spectrum and I just started Facebooking and messaging people and going ‘Hi, this is my story, will you do a

concert on my lawn?’” Giakoumakis said, adding that she had responses in the morning.

Giakoumakis said she’s always wanted to do a concert under the stars on the lawn outside of Thalassa Restaurant. Giakoumakis is one of the co-owners of the restaurant.

“It’s always been the perfect venue,” Giakoumakis said, pointing out the view overlooking the Georgia Strait.

Giakoumakis said she’s just beginning to realize how big this concert is getting.

“We’re playing in a whole different world,” she said. “This isn’t like we’re going to have a BBQ in the backyard. Aaron Pritchett opened up for Garth Brooks, and he’s playing here.”

Pritchett, who has been in the country music industry for about two decades, said this will be his first time performing in Qualicum Beach and he’s looking forward to it.

Concert Under The Stars is a smaller venue for Pritchett, considering he just recently opened two shows for Garth Brooks, but Pritchett said he can adapt to whatever the size of the venue or the crowd.

“When you get to play for those two or three hundred seat crowds, it’s more up close and personal. It actually means a bit more. I can tell the stories behind the songs,” said Pritchett, adding that the audience is usually sitting and listening quite closely.

Pritchett’s album The Score, which was released last Friday, includes his latest song Dirt Road In ‘Em. Pritchett said he’ll be singing some of his new songs, but he’ll also be singing older songs such as Hold My Beer or Done You Wrong.

The concert will be acoustic, but Pritchett said he tries to put on the same type of show and energy as he would with a full band.

Concert Under The Stars is a fundraiser for Ronald McDonald House, and Giakoumakis said she has a fundraising goal of $25,000.

“Ronald McDonald House gets 100 per cent of what we get, so whatever we raise in funds and whatever items people bring to put on the truck that night. Everything goes to Ronald McDonald House,” Giakoumakis said.

People can also donate new items — still in its original packaging — for the house, according to Giakoumakis. She said people can bring in things such as tupperware or vegetable peelers.

“Imagine having one kitchen in your house; Ronald McDonald House has four full-operational kitchens and stuff goes missing,” Giakoumakis said. “We’re hopeful that people will bring stuff that we can load up. We’ve had some people donate rubbermaid containers so we can load everything and sort it all out. Then we get to deliver it with a cheque to Ronald McDonald House saying this is how much we raised.”

Qualicum Beach resident Leanne Davis has been helping to organize the concert since the Ronald McDonald House was the Davis family’s home away from home during treatment for her daughter Olivia’s Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia.

“When you have a critically ill child, all of your focus is on them,” Davis said. “You’re not even thinking of paying bills. Then it suddenly hits you after you’ve been in the hospital for a little bit, and treatment starts. We have to be down here for eight months, where are we going to stay that’s affordable and close to the hospital? Anything can happen.”

Along with being somewhere to sleep for the night, Davis said the RMH was where they built lasting friendships.

“We met so many other families going through difficult times with their children, whether they had cancer or something else going on. It was just a very good support system having that.”

Davis said her family will be speaking to the crowd before the concert about how important the RMH was to them.

Pritchett will be joined by his son Jordan Pritchett and Backstage Whiskey, who are both playing for free, according to Giakoumakis. She added that the sound people are also donating their services for the concert.

“Everybody is really coming together and helping out,” Giakoumakis said.

Tickets for the all-ages concert are $30 plus taxes for inside seating and $35 plus taxes for seating outside on the lawn. To purchase tickets, visit www.eventbrite.ca

The concert in July 7 at Thalassa Restaurant (469 Memorial Ave., Qualicum Beach) with doors opening at 5 p.m. and the concerts starting around 7:30 p.m.

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