The weather's turned warm(ish) and this is a sign that festival season is nearly upon us, the great huddled masses living in the most northern regions, just coming out of our spring thaw. Only another month and a half 'til it's good and hot enough for us to really get the most out of squatting in putrid port-a-potties, sweating the crotches outta our cutoff jeans and cooling off with lukewarm Miller Lites. Yeeeee...haw? Right. Yee-haw is just about right.
So grab your credit card, find a friend with an RV and get yourself a $1000 VIP ticket to WE Fest, already! Or if you'd rather, check out Winstock Country Music Festival. For just $110 you can rent your own biffy for the weekend.
Winstock Country Music Festival Winstock, MN June 11-12 Tickets $100-250 Musical Acts of Note: BlackHawk, Trailer Choir, Sara Evans, Dierks Bentley, Jake Owen, Phil Vassar, Josh Turner and Alan Jackson. Oh and a band called HER and Kings County, a band whose website elicited a big ol' WTF from this gal. They're from New York City. New York City? (Someone get a rope.) Their videos remind me of the crap I used to see out of MuchMusic, the Candian version of MTV, in the mid-90s. Seriously, someone get a rope. Highlights: Again this year the Winsted Fire Department will be holding a Spaghetti Dinner Thursday night before the start of the festival, with live music in the beer tent after. The festival also features a Campsite Decorating Contest with the theme "Gone Country" (after Alan Jackson's '94 hit) - cash prizes. Oh, and you can rent your own Mini-Biff for the weekend for just $110!
Apple River Country Splash Somerset, WI June 17-19 Tickets $25-179 Musical Acts of Note: Travis Tritt, Tanya Tucker, Jimmie Wayne, Zac Brown Band, Lee Ann Womack, Keith Anderson, Gretchen Wilson, Joe Nichols, Lorrie Morgan, Aaron Tippin and Bucky Covington. Highlights: Poker Tournament, and float down the Apple River with the K102 morning show! (I know, right?)
Country Fest Cadott, WI June 24-27 Tickets $43.75-525 Musical Acts of Note: Heidi Newfield, Pat Green, Neal McCoy, Blake Shelton, Eli Young Band, Darryl Worley, Jo Dee Messina, Lady Antebellum, Tim McGraw, Trailer Choir, Rodney Atkins, Toby Keith, Eric Church, Darius Rucker, Reba McEntire. On the whole an assortment of crap-slick Top 40, but definitely worth seeing are the exceptional Jamey Johnson and Little Big Town. Highlights: I've been told that this is the place to go if you want to see all the big acts, dance and drink beer without all the fratboy douchebaggery of WE Fest. I'm sold.
Country Jam Eau Claire, WI July 22-24 Tickets $30-495 Musical Acts of Note: Jake Owen, Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Billy Currington and Sugarland. Got a lot of love for Miranda, but Sawyer Brown, playing Friday night, is speaking to my 13-year-old self in a real bad way. Love 'em. Highlights: Solid lineup without all the glitz of Country Fest or WE Fest. Plus, you can register to win a John Deere!
WE Fest Detroit Lakes, MN August 5-7 Tickets $59-1000 Musical Acts of Note: Gloriana, Randy Houser, Montgomery Gentry, Keith Urban, Eric Church, Blake Shelton, Jason Aldean, Kid Rock, Joe Nichols, Gretchen Wilson, Dierks Bentley and Kenny Chesney. Yes, you read that right - Kid Rock. Highlights: A friend worked this last summer, and it sounded like a real shitshow. There ain't enough whiskey in the world... OH WAIT, THEY HAVE A KARAOKE CONTEST? THE WINNER GETS TO OPEN FOR ONE OF THE MAIN ACTS? Okay, I'm convinced. Oh, and they also have a campground contest, but the theme is Miller Lite and a local radio station? What? Barf.