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Dave Roepke, Published August 03 2007

Old hats are OK with fans

Detroit Lakes, Minn.

WE Fest, in many respects, is all about repetition. People like to camp in the same places so they can do the same things with the same people.

This is also true with the music. John Anderson, playing the afternoon’s second set, broke the record for most WE Fest appearances at nine. Based on the healthy crowd Anderson drew, by daytime standards, there are plenty of folks who haven’t tired of seeing him.

“I’ve probably seen John Anderson five times, but what am I going to do? Not see him?” Tom Melodie of Maple Grove, Minn., said before the show. “The same thing with Sawyer Brown.”

The latter group is no stranger to the festival, either. Sawyer Brown’s 5:45 performance tonight will be its ninth as well, tying Anderson’s record.

‘We’ll pull hair’

The old tradition of sounding a reverie horn early in the morning to start the mad race into the concert bowl to claim the good spots with folding chairs has been gone for years, thanks to the thousands of reserved seats that blanket the front half of the venue. But that doesn’t mean general admission ticket holders don’t still like getting first crack at the choice locales.

Armed with a folding chair for each, Larry and Pearl Olding, their teenage daughter Sarah and her friend JoAnna Vietor – all from Linwood, Minn. – were cozied up near the closed gates at 10:20 a.m. on Thursday. They were planning on getting as close as possible, with Larry running when the gates opened at 2 p.m. and the ladies acting as his offensive line.

“We’ll pull hair if we have to,” Pearl Olding said.

Quick hit

Despite the additions WE Fest has made to its sound system, most of the big-name acts use their own speakers, sound guys, etc. “They feel insecure without their own stuff,” said Terry McCloskey, co-founder of the festival.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Roepke at (701) 241-5535