DETROIT LAKES - During the other 362 days of the year, the WE Fest grounds sit relatively untouched--bathrooms included--so when the 50,000-plus attendees flood Soo Pass Ranch, the bathrooms also have a tendency to flood.

“We have three full-time guys moving around doing nothing but unplugging toilets,” said Nick Green, owner of Green’s Plumbing and Heating in Detroit Lakes.

Green’s father, Mark Green, began a plumbing contract with WE Fest roughly 25 years ago, when the Ranch installed flushing toilets, and the company has been working the festival ever since.

Nick Green, who took over the family plumbing and heating business about a year ago, said working with the new WE Fest owners has been going well, but the festival plumbing never ceases to surprise.

During the concerts, the five bathroom sites in the concert bowl are continuously flooding.

“We work so hard to keep things running,” Green said. “We get (them) unplugged as fast as physically possible.”

In Green’s line of work, a flooded toilet isn’t the surprising part--it’s the cause of the flooding.

“(We pull out) a lot of cell phones and eye glasses,” Green said, adding that those are the two most common causes stopping up the facilities.


“(We pull out) a lot of cell phones and eye glasses.” - Nick Green, owner of Green’s Plumbing and Heating in Detroit Lakes


However, Green says any item allowed in the concert bowl--cans, food items, glow sticks, shoes, cowboy hats, clothing, jewelry, wallets, anything the vendors are selling--can (and usually does) ends up in the toilet.

“We find a lot of clothing stuffed in there,” Green said.

Green and his crew also take care of the bathroom and shower facilities in the campgrounds, keeping those toilets and faucets running and fixing any leaks, which Green says are fairly common due to the inebriated state of some of the festival goers--items in the bathrooms are more likely to get knocked over or used improperly.

But Green’s Plumbing continues to fix the pipe issues during the festival, working late into the night--a different schedule from the plumbers’ normal working hours.

“When the concert ends we typically call it a night,” Green said, adding if they need to, they will pick up right where they left off the next morning. “We keep doing our thing.”


Kaysey Price, Forum News Service