Record attendance hits Lakes Jam
Mother Nature may have delayed Lakes Jam Saturday during the showers and thunderstorms, but it did not stop it. Weather for the three-day music event offered mainly sunny skies and warm temperatures, but Saturday afternoon a storm blew in delayin...
Mother Nature may have delayed Lakes Jam Saturday during the showers and thunderstorms, but it did not stop it.
Weather for the three-day music event offered mainly sunny skies and warm temperatures, but Saturday afternoon a storm blew in delaying the main stage music by an hour and a half. Lakes Jam organizers, through social media, announced a "temporary halt in the action" around 3 p.m. Saturday to let "Mother Nature rain now for clear skies later." No one was allowed to enter the concert area until organizers opened it up when it was safe. Around 5 p.m., they announced the concert grounds were open and people were able to come in. They had to make a few changes and the 4 p.m. main stage act-ThundHERstruck performed at 5:30 p.m. on the secondary stage. Times for the rest of the line-up were announced to be 7:30 p.m. for Survivor, 38 Special at 8:45 p.m. and Styx at 10:30 p.m.
Once people came in Mother Nature cooperated and the rain stayed away leaving the sun shining.
ThundHERstruck several times told the audience, "We're so happy we got to play."
Lakes Jam owner Jerry Braam said the three-day music fest that unites country and rock and roll, held at Brainerd International Raceway overall went great. He said the weather caused "a little hiccup, but that didn't stop us from doing what we wanted to do," Braam said.
View a 151 Photo Slideshow - Lakes Jam Saturday - By Kelly Humphrey
Attendance numbers at Lakes Jam were not available yet, but the event saw a record high number, with the most people Friday night when headliner Toby Keith performed. Fans filled the concert bowl area from front to back.
Several people, when asked during the country and the rock night, said Toby Keith was the one performer they were most excited to see.
Charlie Hockert of Sauk Center and his two sons-Steve Hockert of Moore, Okla., and David Hockert of San Antonio, Texas-and their uncle Harry Kerfeld of Freeport came walking out of the meet and greet Friday with Toby Keith with smiles. Steve Hockert said he is a member of the Toby Keith Country Fan Club and they all were excited to meet the artist.
They said they were only at Lakes Jam to see Toby Keith. Charlie Hockert said he likes Toby Keith because he sings patriotic songs; Kerfeld said he likes his beer drinking songs; and the Hockert brothers said he sings songs they can relate to and they like that he supports the military.
Before Toby Keith came on stage, Lakes Jam had a military salute tribute to 10 new enlistees of the military, who were sworn in on the Lakes Jam stage before they begin service in the Air Force. The music of "I'm Proud to be an American" was played and the crowd cheered.
Toby Keith also took photographs with the men and women in uniform during the meet and greet and while on stage he thanked all persons for their service, as well as supporting firefighters and law enforcement.
Dana Schiller, who lives north of Baxter, attended Lakes Jam all three days. He said he has now seen Toby Keith in three countries. He saw Toby Keith perform in Kosovo in 2004 and 2007 when he was deployed with the Minnesota National Army Guard; and in Kuwait in 2010; and now in the United States.
"It's awesome to see Toby Keith right in my backyard," Schiller said. "This is my first year coming to Lakes Jam and I am already trying to figure out how to do this next year."
Schiller said he knows some of "the guys" in Kuwait right now. He said they got to see Chris Hawkey earlier this summer and he was able to see Hawkey at Lakes Jam.
Schiller said he and his wife Deb, who have been married for 18 years, have never been to any music festival. He said it has been a blast. His wife was most excited to see Survivor.
Deb and Wes Ellis of Nisswa were at Lakes Jam with their family. This was their third year and they received meet and greet passes for 38 Special. Deb Ellis said they are a big fan of 38 Special and said "Toby Keith was the best."
Ellis said they ended up going home during the storms Saturday, which was nice. Then when the rain stopped they drove back to BIR.
Their daughter-in-law Bree Ellis, spilled the beans and said it was their 35th wedding anniversary for Deb and Wes and she wanted them to kiss on stage.
Jake Zauhar, a 1997 Brainerd High School graduate, who now lives in Cold Spring, won meet and greet tickets to meet country singer Chase Bryant. Zauhar said Friday he is not a huge fan of Bryant, but said "he's a great artist and is good at what he does. ... He is really into his fans."
Zauhar said he got his photograph taken with Bryant and they made small talk.
"This is my first time here and I love it," Zauhar said. "This is a great venue, they have everything here.
"I can't wait to see Toby Keith," Zauhar said as he waited for the county star to go on stage. "And LoCash and Granger Smith (Thursday) night were awesome. They pulled in some great talent this year."
Jed Harting of Baxter has been to Lakes Jam every year since its start. He said he enjoys everything about Lakes Jam and is a big country fan. Harting was excited to see headliner country star Toby Keith, like a lot of fans were.
Rob and Linda Glenn may be the furthest Lakes Jam fans who attended. They drove from northern New Jersey.
The Glenns said, "Back in January we were looking for a place to vacation for a week this summer and also wanted to see the band Locash in concert. It so happened while researching concert dates for Locash we found Lakes Jam. In November we had taken a trip to Nashville and watched Granger Smith do his Grand Ole Opry debut, so a concert with Locash, who by the way just released their first big album, Granger and all the other bands in an outdoor venue looked really cool.
"As we'd never been to this specific area. We researched where to kayak, things to do before the concert and decided book it. ... We're really happy we did. Apparently we stand out, though we don't have that crazy New Jersey accent, at least we don't think we do because lots of people have been talking to us and immediately ask with suspicion if we are from this area. The reactions we get when we say we are from New Jersey have been one of shock and amusement. The next question has been, 'You came here just for Lakes Jam?' and we say 'Pretty much and to check out the area.'
"We have been welcomed and had lots of great conversations with people in all the little towns we have traveled too."
Kerri Zak and Kristen Dehne, both of Brainerd, said it was their first year at Lakes Jam. Dehne got student discounted tickets and it was going to be a celebration of her soon-to-be graduation scheduled in September.
Zak said the atmosphere is fun and she was excited to see Toby Keith. She said she has seen 38 Special before.
A group of around 13 friends had T-shirts made for Saturday with a saying revolving around adult beverages. One of the couples, Deb and Ryan Boyer of Sauk Center said a friend of theirs had been coming to Lakes Jam for the past four years and so they decided to come this year.
Bruce Ressenann of Richmond, who was part of the Boyers group, said the group has gone to music fests in the past and liked the atmosphere at Lakes Jam, saying it was not too small and not too big.
Lakes Jam announced during the fest that the 2017 Thursday night headliner will be Chris Janson. Braam said they're currently in the process of getting the country headliner and have some ideas for the headliner for the rock and roll night.
JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at email@example.com or 218-855-5851. Follow me at www.twitter.com/jennewsgirl on Twitter.