It’s jarring enough to see Kid Rock’s name on the 2016 WE Fest lineup, considering it’s a legendary Minnesota festival that has seen such country heavyweights as Tammy Wynette, Johnny Cash, and King George take the stage since it started in 1983. But Wednesday, the festival announced Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler will be performing, too.
For this year's fest — set to go down August 4-6 in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota — Tyler joins fellow headliners Kid Rock (who played WE Fest in 2010), “Mr. Misunderstood” Eric Church, and Tim McGraw, who’s still beloved by country fans despite a few huge missteps — do the words “Truck Yeah!” mean anything to you?
OK, Tyler has recently branched into the country genre, as most recording artists do when they can’t find success on any other radio format (hello, Darius Rucker, Sheryl Crow, Dan + Shay, Sam Hunt ...). His first country single sans Aerosmith, “Love Is Your Name,” wasn’t horrible, though its follow-up, “Red White and You” definitely is. It’s worse than Florida Georgia Line.
Full confession: I’ll always love Steven Tyler, considering he was my first real interview way back in 2001 when I was just 13. I interviewed him again in 2003, and I’m hoping his pit stop at my beloved WE Fest means it’s time for interview No. 3. (I also collect vintage WE Fest memorabilia and go to the fest as often as I can, even though most modern country makes me want to cut my ears off.)
I’m sure WE Fest’s party-hard crowd of around 50,000 will be “cheers”-ing Steven when he performs, lifting their huge branded mugs full of Miller Light or Mike’s Hard above their heads and yelling for him to play “Walk This Way.”
Apparently there was a huge demand for Kid Rock to return, and his friend Hank Williams Jr. persuaded him to sign up for another round, according to the Fargo Forum. Thus, WE Fest 2016 looks like a sausage-fest of the highest order, with opening bands being 90 percent male, but I’m hoping that further announcements change that. I’d love to see Maddie & Tae, Ashley Monroe, Maddie & Tae, or even Tim’s devoted wife, Faith Hill, hit the stage.
Wanna see this crew at WE Fest 2016? You should, but take my advice: Go VIP and don’t wear flip-flops. Get your tickets (three-day passes run $149-$800) here.