Portage la Prairie, MB –
It was hard to tell who was more surprised, the band or the audience. The Portage Potato Festival, headline act, “Whole Lotta Angus”, hit the stage to a crowd full of John Deere hats, denim jeans and over sized belt buckles screaming, “Where’s the beef?”
Heavily promoted in the Portage la Prairie area weeks leading up to the festival and the event drew thousands. Unfortunately, word spread quickly among local cattle producers that it was supposed to be one of the biggest Angus Beef cattle shows of all time due to a “fake news” story promoted through a Russian controlled Facebook page.
“We weren’t expecting some devil-worshipping rock and roll band,” rancher Frank Little said. “We’re God-fearing cattle producers. We came to see some nice steers and heifers not some spawns of Satan.”
Used to playing to receptive and energized audiences at rural casinos and festivals, Whole Lotta Angus was shocked by the lack of energy in the Portage crowd when they started with “Shoot to Thrill”.
“It pisses me off that some idiot would write a fake news story and trick people into thinking we were a cattle show,” lead singing Blair Sokowski said. “It’s complete bull s@#*.”
After the rocky start, both the band and the crowd warmed up to each other. Whole Lotta Angus dropped their AC/DC set list after three songs and began to play some well-received Garth Brooks covers.
“We used to do Garth cover tunes in our previous band “Whole Lotta Garth”,” Sokowski explained. “After all, country music is just bad rock. It wasn’t a hard adjustment.”
The cattlemen began to cheer after the band transitioned from “Thunderstruck” to “When the Thunder Rolls” and was singing along when the band played “Friends in Low Places.”
The festival board intends to be clearer in its advertising next year and promises to clamp down on fake news stories used to mislead potential attendees.
The cattle producers were won over by the end of the night and hope to make the Portage Potato Festival a yearly destination.