All photos by Stephen Simons
Saskatchewan’s Craven Country Jamboree is a yearly music festival and reason to pray for armageddon. At least, that’s what some people believe because of the stories of drunken debauchery, assaults, racism, and general recklessness that usually result from it. This is what happens when around 20,000 people take over the Qu'Appelle Valley near the village of Craven for four days. That said, families attend the festival—people get married there. They have responsible fun and bond over a love of country culture and great music. With headlining acts like Eric Church, Zac Brown Band, Alabama, and Kacey Musgraves this year, we had high hopes. We attended, and those hopes were dashed three days in when some psychotic bro apparently doused a kitten in alcohol and lit it on fire.
RCMP rushed the marmalade-coloured kitty to the nearby TM'z Vet Clinic for burn wounds late Saturday. The clinic described the incident on Facebook, an emotional post that went viral within hours. Early Sunday morning, officers were investigating one man for animal cruelty. Insp. Ted Munro told us charges hadn’t been laid, but the case was still ongoing. We asked if everyone at Craven “is a kitten-burning monster,” to which Munro replied, “No, this is a very isolated incident. 99.9% of the people are out here to have fun and enjoy the events... It’s a one-off.”
Needing closure, we went to TM'z Vet Clinic to meet the injured kitten. Dr. Gerad Cantin and vet student Rebecca Mycock told us the cat was now named Jamboree. That day, Craven officials said she has become their official mascot. Dr. Cantin said the burn wounds on Jamboree’s adorable whiskers, ear, and paws were “superficial.” He said offers to adopt the little creature came flooding in, but the clinic is still tending to her recovery. As for his thoughts on the festival, he said, “Craven has had a reputation for lewd behavior, overall. I think most folks go there to have a good time. Some individuals get carried away. But there’s no excuse for this despicable behavior.” As the doctor spoke, Jamboree, the resilient feline, played and acted cute in spite of humanity’s darker tendencies. (Update: since publishing, one man and one male youth have been charged in connection to the kitten-burning.)
None of this felt right. Was this the real Craven? Of course not. We hope one violent act doesn’t reflect the morals of thousands.
To test this, we investigated to find out more about the infamous festival culture. Specifically, it's bro culture. Below is the result of our photo journey documenting the varied species that is the 'Craven bro.' See the photo gallery and read the bro profiles (brofiles) below, each with different bro perspectives (brospectives). We really didn't need the parenthesis, did we?
Bohemian Bro (aka Brohemian)
“Craven is a hoot-n’-half this year. It’s a mud pit. Just a bunch of sloots [sic] out there in the mud. Makes the time of ‘ur life.” — Spencer
Confederate Flag Bro
“Drink up if you love hockey.” — Wynter
Environmentally Friendly Bro
“You just gotta tidy up the site. Keep it clean. It’s pretty gross out here at Craven.” — Blake
“Bring rubber boots and bring rubbers.” — Willy
“Out of respect to my country, I fly this flag. I appreciate Canada. It’s beautiful—best country in the world, but I thought I would show a little respect to my heritage.” — Josh
“I just did beers bongs from the top of a trailer. Live it. Have fun.” — Alyssa
Mystic Pirate Bro
“I’ve been traveling for many days and many seas. You are so rich in mud, you have no idea idea how rich in mud you are. There’s much mud here to be had. I might take some mud with me back to the seven seas.” — Lechuck
Real Cowboy Bro
“It takes a lot of heart and try.” — Craig
Fake Cowboy Bro
“I don’t even like country music.” — Connor
“Rollin’ on ‘35s. Got stuck in the mud but it pulled through. Craven, baby.” — Devon
“Everything Drake does and says is something to live by.” — Nolan
Heavy Metal Bro
“This is a good place to party. For everybody. Even for metal heads. Some country is worth listening to. Johnny Cash helped metal become what it is. You gotta love everything, or else you can’t love anything.” — Dylan
“I am slightly sunburned right now. I am having a cocksucking blast.” — Quinton
We're Actually (Really) Here for the Music Bro
“Eric Church.” — Travis and Kian
“I get the ladies to sign it. I do have a girlfriend though.” — Tanner
Git' Er' Done Bro
“Giv’er the corn!” — Wyatt
“It’s working out ... Not really. Yesterday was so close.” — Heavily Bearded Security Shirt Bro
Music Blogger Bro
“Fascinating.” — Devin
Devin Pacholik is a Writer Bro. Follow him on Twitter.
Stephen Simons is a Filmmaker Bro. Follow him on Twitter.