red lights


Party in the North Woods

10,000 Lakes Festival
Detroit Lakes, MN
July 2nd - 4th

The Roots
The Roots
Rose Hill Drive
Rose Hill Drive

Review and Photos by Matt Schwenke

Nestled away in the North Woods nearly an hour east of Fargo, the 10,000 Lakes Festival brought roughly forty bands out to Northern Minnesota over the Fourth of July weekend. While the small town of Detroit Lakes is relatively unknown this side of the Mississippi (I'm writing from WI, which ironically has more lakes than MN), the 2nd Annual 10,000 Lakes Festival provided an excellent venue for a wide variety of music fans to see a wide range of bands perform. Still centered around a jam band theme, this year's festival included bands, such as Los Lobos, The Roots, 311, and John Mayer, who are not regulars in the jam band scene.
The Roots The music unofficially started with a VIP pre-party the night before the festival began; however, due to congestion on the FREEways, I was setting up camp by flashlight while the featured band Particle played. I did make it up to the Saloon Stage in time to hear a three piece from CO named Rose Hill Drive. This is a band to keep a look out for. RHD's purely rock sound is raw and powerful, and their stage presence is captivating. Moving from the Field Stage to the Main Stage after a cancellation, RHD also opened the first official day of the festival on the largest of four stages. While admitting that they were not used to a large stage, RHD played a great set in front of a scattered crowd.
As the crowd slowly grew throughout the first day, those who arrived early got to see national acts without a huge crowd. Early notables from Fri. included Donavan Frankenreiter -nice and mellow grooves, Soulive -solid funk and jazz, and Buckwheat Zydeco -will make you dance any time of day. Los Lobos also put on a good show, but due to problems with the on-stage monitor system, the band never seemed to get comfortable in their hour-long set. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band may have single-handedly put the masses in a party mood, and if that didn't do it, then the performance the Roots put on certainly did. Keeping the momentum going, Keller Williams later filled the Barn stage with the sounds of his one-man act, and the North Mississippi Allstars rocked the Field Stage with their set that included a guest appearance by RHD guitarist Daniel Sproul. The final act on the Main Stage for the day featured 311, who charged the crowd up with a drum solo that eventually had all five members playing drums. For the rest of the show, 311 had the crowd bouncing to their up-tempo songs and swaying to their slower tunes.
Jazz Mandolin Project Saturday's line-up, which was arguably the weakest of the impressive schedule, was not without its share of entertaining performances. Wookie Foot put on a circus-like show that included cheerleaders dancing, an astronaut walking around, and machines that blew giant smoke rings across the stage. The Radiators later treated the crowd to their southern sound and the Jazz Mandolin Project played well with John Fishman on the drums. While there was not a rush to get back to the Main Stage for headliner John Mayer, the crowd began to grow as Mayer demonstrated some amazing guitar work and singing. Explaining the story behind one of his songs with an account of a relationship gone horrible, Mayer also displayed a talent for being personable with a large crowd.
The final day of the festival ended the weekend just as strong as it started out. The Jazz Mandolin Project put on another great show and the fiery sounds of Stockholm Syndrome, with Dave Schools and Jerry Joseph, brought the main stage to life. The Yonder Mountain String Band, who was playing the last show of their tour, could not hold back the excitement of being able to head home and played a very energetic set. Galactic was the next band to rock the Main Stage with some strong female vocals and Ben Ellman providing a mean harmonica solo. Medeski, Martin and Wood jammed out their always-changing style of jazz, but in a bit more laid back fashion than some of the older MMW shows. And, to cap off the festivities on the Fourth of July, the String Cheese Incident took to the Main stage as the final headliner. Even though SCI has put on shows that were much more intense, the band and the crowd seemed content with the laid back set that was longer than any of the other headlining sets. As the band filed off of the stage, the fireworks began to go off, and the festival that covered four nights of music and so many great acts was over.


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