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John Lamb, Published July 25 2009

10K a festival to tie-dye for

Detroit Lakes, Minn.

With today the final day of the 10,000 Lakes Festival in Detroit Lakes, those considering coming down are probably wondering two things:

1. Is it worth it?

Yes. I’m not a diehard Wilco fan (not too crazy about the new self-titled disc), but the group’s headlining show Thursday was one of the best concerts I’ve ever seen, right up there with one of the headliners from last year’s festival, the Flaming Lips.

If you’re a fan of the Dave Matthews Band, this could be your only chance to see the group in your own backyard.

If you’re not a fan, and I know there are a lot of you out there, afternoon sets by Todd Snider, Kathleen Edwards, Ozomatli, honeyhoney as well as a nightcap of the neo-R&B group Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings would be worth it.

2. OK, you’ve convinced me, but what should I wear?

Always a good question. Festivals like this have a certain style to them, and for an event that celebrates individual expression, there seems to be certain prescribed looks.

It should come as no surprise to find a sea of tie-dye, but what may surprise is how much is affiliated with Chicago sports teams. I know 10,000 Lakes draws fans from around the country, but are Windy City hippies the only ones with team spirit? The bulk of the people here come from Minnesota, but I have yet to see a single Twins or Vikings logo in psychedelic colors. Perhaps if a couple thousand music fans sent out positive vibes, the Twins could put a skid to their current losing streak.

If you don’t already have tie-dye, you can buy some here at the festival. You can also buy flowing dresses, colorful headwear, crazy patchwork pants and almost any other article of clothing you could never wear to work.

The most popular item for sale here seems to be plain old bandanas and at $2 a pop they are the most affordable memento. The dudes like them for headbands or doo rags. At first I thought different colors marked which campground someone was staying in so campers could find their troop, but I don’t think that’s the case.

There are a number functional uses for bandanas (sling, tourniquet, hobo knap sack), but my personal favorite is rolling up and tying together two to fashion a colorful belt. It’s just the right amount of color to accessorize with earth tone shorts.

10,000 Lakes is kind of like Fargo’s Downtown Street Fair with all the different crafts for sale, but like the Street Fair the food is a big draw. My personal favorite so far is Deb Jenkins’ mock duck, either on a bed of rice or in a wrap, for $7.50. And what music festival would be complete without that staple of the hippie diet, the grilled cheese. At $3 the price is right (and half that of a Summit beer), but for an extra $1, you can add onions and even bacon.

Tell you what music fans, if you’re wearing tie-dye of any major Minnesota team, come find me and I’ll buy you a grilled cheese if you promise to send positive vibes out to the Twins.

If you go

If you go

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


or on his Twitter account, Lambwiches

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