Story and Photos by Matt SchwenkeThe 22nd Annual WE Fest brought another big-name list of country musicians to the Soo Pass Ranch in Detroit Lakes, MN. The Soo Pass Ranch, which is also the site for the fairly new 10,000 Lakes Festival, has an old world rancher nostalgia mixed with modern sound and stage technology-- a great place to hold a country festival that brought the likes of Travis Tritt, Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, Montgomery Gentry, Sawyer Brown and George Strait.
I admittedly did not cover this festival as a country fan, but as a part of the production team that put on the festival and a fan of music. Being a music fan who is somewhat ignorant in country music, I did enjoy a good portion of the music, and the large crowds on hand were evidence of good musicians with good acts. With that noted, the highlight of this festival was in the "smaller" acts like Mason Profitt and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band where the lines between country, southern rock, and folk music were continually blurred. Suzy Boggus and Laurie Morgan, the only female-led acts at the festival, also had the quality of a crossover sound that stayed away from the pop appeal that the bigger acts display.
Not to be brushed aside, the big guns of country that were present deserve to be applauded for their stage presence and entertainment value. Their shows were interesting to watch and the sincerity of what they were playing could be seen and felt from even the worst vantage point in the concert bowl. George Strait's show, which was the most humble of the big acts in terms of lights and dancing about on stage, portrayed a more serious attitude toward a musical tradition and thus garnered more of my respect. The raw honesty Strait brought to his music and stage show made for an experience that any music fan would enjoy, regardless of their own musical preferences.
If you are a country fan, then this festival may be a mecca of sorts. And, if you are not, then this festival still brings in some of the best entertainers out there for three days of fun in the north woods.
See the WE Fest Photo Gallery!
Here's Your Chance to.... Respond!
Your feedback will be featured on
Rant or Rave within 24 hours.
Return to Reviews
Return to Menu