Courtney Sinner, Published July 25 2009
10KLF draws concert-goers from all over the countryDETROIT LAKES, Minn. - Anyone who’s been out to the 10,000 Lakes Festival can speak to the interesting people there — including some who drive hours in a car or fly cross country just for the camping and music.
For Kristina Dickson, 23, of Park City, Utah, the trip was a welcome birthday present from her boyfriend of seven months, Matt Carey, 23.
“I’m a huge Dave Matthews fan,” Dickson said. “This will be my seventh or eighth concert.”
The couple drove 17 hours to come to northern Minnesota, a new world for them. Dickson said the closest she’s ever been to Minnesota is Madison, Wis.
In fact, Dickson said the pair came upon the fest rather by chance when searching on the Internet, and almost chose to go to a fest in San Francisco, only a 12-hour drive from Utah, instead.
“It had a great set list, but we came here instead because of the camping,” she said. “I love camping. And it’s really cool that people can just come together for the music.”
Sitting around a campfire in the Lake Sallie campground on Thursday, the pair was joined by a new friend from Winter Park, Colo., and a couple locals, all speaking to the interesting, immediate camaraderie that camp-neighbors experience here.
They’re not the only ones — even a few friends from Grand Forks found “neighbors” next to them in the Blue Ox campground. A trio of girls from Wausau, Wis., offered to share their tarp and chairs with the trio of guys.
“It’s all about people helping people, it’s a beautiful thing,” said 21-year-old Matt Elbert.
Also traveling a far distance was Wade Brown, a 27-year-old Denver resident, who’d never been to Minnesota either.
“It’s beautiful here, I will definitely be back,” he said.
He and a friend flew into Minneapolis and rented a car for the drive north.
“It’s all about the festivus! And the camping,” said Brown, a Widespread Panic fan.
He said he’d recently been to the Mile High Music Festival in Denver and saw similar acts to those playing at 10KLF, like Railroad Earth, Widespread Panic and Kinetix.
One of the farthest travelers by far was Michael Parrish, 36, who flew from Miami to Minneapolis and drove up with his brother, Mark, who lives in the Twin Cities.
Michael Parrish said he and his brother had been to 10KLF for the last couple years, and even though he moved to Miami in April, that didn’t stop him from returning to the festival.
“It’s the camping, my brother who I haven’t seen in forever, the music of course,” Parrish said. “We saw like 35 Grateful Dead shows in the late ‘80s, so we’re really into this stuff.”
Mark Parrish, 40, said the festival was “one of those things … you either get it or you don’t,” saying it’s something his wife wouldn’t want to attend.
“If you love camping with music along with it, this is the place for you,” Michael Parrish said.
The Detroit Lakes (Minn.) Tribune and The Forum are both owned by Forum Communications Co.