The festival has been in operation since 1983 and became Country Thunder Saskatchewan on October 27th, 2016. The festival was originally called Big Valley Jamboree and was first established by Father Lucien Larré, as a fundraiser for his Bosco Homes for emotionally disturbed youth. A successor event, the Kinsmen Rock'N the Valley rock music festival, ran until 2004. The country music format was revived in 2005 and renamed the Craven Country Jamboree.
The festival foregoes reserved seating in favor of a rush seating format. Each evening, dedicated fans sit in the Gopher Run lineup, some overnight, to get the best seats in the house. Each morning, security allows 3,000 lucky fans entrance to set up their lawn chairs, which are their seats for the entire day of shows.