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John Lamb, Published July 24 2009

10K festival is feeling Minnesota

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. – Thursday’s lineup at the 10,000 Lakes Festival was testament to event organizers’ efforts to broaden the fan base.

Sandwiched between two nights of festival favorites, the jam band Widespread Panic, indie rockers Wilco, honky-tonk guitarist and hip-hop act Atmosphere headlined the bill.

While the promoters threw out a big net to bring in talent from as far away as Australia, with blues/fusion singer/songwriter Harper, a good part of Thursday’s catch was pulled from the Land of 10,000 Lakes itself.

Dave Weissman, co-promoter of the festival, said the Minne-theme wasn’t planned and that scheduling just worked out that way.

Minneapolis-based world folk band Gypsy Lumberjacks got the day started with a noon set in the grounds’ saloon. Singer/guitarist for the year-old act, Leif Magnuson, appreciated the slot, even if it was the first of the day.

“Anytime you play you want people to see what you’re doing,” he said after the five-piece group finished. “This is a great atmosphere for newer bands.”

Magnuson added that having a number of stages allowed patrons to pop in and check out an act, then move on to check out another if they so desired. He didn’t have to worry about too many people passing by the Lumberjack’s set, it was the only one at the time and few people left the packed saloon.

Singer/songwriter Mason Jennings of Minneapolis was looking forward to making his 10K debut and trying some material from his forthcoming album, “Blood of Man,” due out Sept. 15.

“These crowds are a little more open to different things,” he said backstage Thursday afternoon. “And it’s fun to do it here because it’s the home state.”

Minneapolis’ The Honeydogs kicked off the main- stage music at 6 p.m., with their late-’90s staple “Rumor Has It.”

The group hasn’t played the festival before and it’s been awhile since the group played Fargo-Moorhead or Grand Forks, former regular stops.

Bassist Trent Norton said the band has focused on writing and recording with its new horn section, but is back on the road now with the March release of “Sunshine Committee.”

“As we’ve gotten older some of us have families and some of us have to take time off of work,” he said with a laugh backstage Thursday.

“It feels good to be included,” he said. “It’s cool the festival is expanding its musical genres a bit. It’s always fun to play in front of a large audience.”

There were only 100 or 200 people in front of the stage when the group started, but one of those happy to be there was John Langdahl of Moorhead. He was flashing his home state pride by waving a Minnesota flag.

Follow John Lamb’s reporting from 10K on his blog at


or on his Twitter account, Lambwiches

Readers can reach Forum reporter John Lamb at (701) 241-5533.