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Dave Roepke, Published July 25 2008

10K Lakes Fest blog

Highlights from this year’s 10,000 Lakes Festival near Detroit Lakes, Minn. For more blog entries from Forum reporter Dave Roepke, visit www.areavoices.com/festivals.

“This is the best band nobody knows about,” said Mark Schiffner, a 39-year-old from Lake Park, Minn., after watching Fargo bluegrass ensemble Johnson Family Band play at the campground stage near Lake Sallie.

The unamplified set drew a standing ovation, quite a compliment in this heat, so he wasn’t the only one warming up to the acoustic group that plays as many rodeos as it plays jam-band festivals.

Schiffner was also looking forward to Thursday night’s Parliament Funkadelic set: “I’m going to see if George Clinton is still alive.”

The people-watching at 10K is almost worth the price of admission. It’s not all white-dude dreads, mountain-man beards and pixie wings.

Take Chad Kawamindmi, a 31-year-old from Atlanta who was at 10K to celebrate his birthday. A couple of friends of his bought him a full-length gown completely covered with silver sequins, with fur lapels and a matching hat. He looked like a cheap purse come to life.

“Normally I wear a monkey suit,” the accountant said, “so this is no big deal.”

With the muggy weather making motion something to be actively avoided – seriously, you can break a sweat just thinking about walking out here – the first shows Thursday on the two medium-sized stages drew light, lazy crowds.