By Jeannette Madden
The High Plains Reader and Summit Brewing Company are bringing the first ever “High Plains Festival” to the Soo Pass Ranch in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. With camping July 2 through 4 and music July 1 and 2, the energy packed, speed pickin’ Duluth quintet Trampled By Turtles will be the main event.
“We are going to light up the Barn stage and let them rip it up for the evening on Saturday night with additional music in the Saloon throughout the weekend,“ David Larson, the voice of the High Plains Festival said. “We want to provide a great place to stay and play at the Soo Pass Ranch over the Fourth of July weekend.”
According to festival organizer Bob Bliss, the High Plains Festival came about as the desire of Festival and Concerts, Inc. (FACE), the successor of WE Fest, Inc., to “develop more events at the Soo Pass Ranch that would bring economic growth and stimulus to the community. In this process, one of the ideas we had last fall was for a Blue Grass kind of event. In researching farther, we found that Trampled By Turtles (a band that has great popularity in our region) was interested in being a part of developing an event on the 4th of July weekend. Through many conversations, the High Plains Festival came about.”
Joining Trampled by Turtles for a great day and night of music will be Pert’ Near Sandstone, Caroline Smith, Nathan Miller & Unstoppable Company, and Sovereign Sect.
“We wanted Bands that are very popular around here and that fit well with Trampled By Turtles,” added Bob Bliss. “Working together we researched, contacted and worked it out. There will be a lot of great local musicians taking part in this event.”
Trampled By Turtles has a sound that’s a bracing hybrid of classic American songwriting, bluegrass and folk, forceful acoustic music from the land of ice and snow – of dark winters, isolation and numbing cold – delivered at breakneck pace with religious fervor. While they never set out to be a “bluegrass” band, the band employs the same time-honored tools of the trade – guitar, acoustic bass, banjo, mandolin and fiddle – as their grass-fed country cousins. But their soul-deep differences in influences, attitude and attack, from their quicksilver, deadly accurate picking to their lonesome, hauntingly spare ballads, make for a very different musical beast indeed.
Pert’ Near Sandstone is a modern American stringband based in Minneapolis. They’ve taken old time music off of the back porch, thrown out the hillbilly reputation and put it in the hands of a group that likes to play hard and have fun. Pert Near Sandstone rejuvenates American stringband music with raw energy – they play well-crafted original material that lends itself to the modern audience as well as being stewards of the old-time and bluegrass traditions. They are as at home playing fully acoustic in the traditional style as they are plugged in at a rock venue. From saloons to theatres, hollering into a single microphone and laying thick rhythm on driving fiddle melodies their sweat-inducing, foot-stomping live performances keep people dancing all night.
Since her arrival in Minneapolis during the fall of 2006 as an 18-year-old singer/songwriter, Caroline Smith has utilized her proximity to a music scene bursting with notable venues and like-minded musicians. In 2007, through her growing reputation and charismatic personality, Smith befriended Twin Cities’ very own Arlen Peiffer (Cloud Cult), Jesse Schuster and Colin Hacklander. In August of 2008 they went into the studio to record their debut album, Backyard Tent Set, dubbing themselves officially as Caroline Smith & The Good Night Sleeps. The group, with its independently released LP, has made major waves online, on air and on tour. In their short existence, they’ve already completed four well-attended national tours, along with a constant circuit through the Midwest.
Hailing from Fargo, Sovereign Sect has taken the reins and pioneered one of the most underrated, vibrant live electronic scenes in the Midwest and have become a staple for bass music lovers from hundreds of miles away. With the recent addition of two new members to the previous producer/drummer combo, Sovereign Sect is delving into new realms of live production and improvised digital controllerism - tactfully fusing live performance aspects of traditional bands with the dance-friendly, musical-riot-enducing elements hip-hop and bass culture music. Sovereign Sect is a sonic phenomenon not to be missed.
Nathan Miller & Unstoppable Company is a Minneapolis-based band featuring Miller’s revolutionary slide guitar from an urban perspective. Called “music that should be heard outdoors, ideally with a beer in your fist and a barbecue nearby,” Miller claims Jimi Hendrix as an influence in his songs, which dabble in soul, funk and the blues. His no-nonsense approach will appeal to classic-rock fans, while his hip-hop swagger should pull in the kids who love Jack Johnson and Ben Harper.
On July 1st, the winner of the High Plains Reader’s Battle of the Bands will be performing at the pre-party to kick things off for the High Plains Festival. Voting for the top seven bands begins Wed. April 13 and ends at 5 p.m. on Tues. April 26. Those top seven bands will perform on Sat. April 30 at the Aquarium in Fargo. Friends and fans will be invited to vote for each band after their set to determine who will be going to the show. The top band will win the performance slot at the High Plains Festival.
Camping will be available for the whole weekend. A weekend camping and music ticket is good for music and camping in the Northwoods Campground Sat. July 2 through Tues. July 5th. Campground Gates open on Sat. July 2 at 8 a.m. and close on Tues. July 5 at noon. Each person camping and attending the festival will need one of these tickets. Each vehicle entering the campground will also need one Weekend Vehicle Permit to the Northwoods Campground, sold separately for $40. For those that wish to arrive Fri. July 1, a $10 ticket for camping that evening and the $40 Weekend Vehicle Permit must be purchased. The Northwoods campground opens Fri. July 1 at noon for vehicles that arrive with the Friday Early Camping Permit. A one day music only ticket good 6 p.m. July 2 – 2 a.m. July 3 is $20.00.
Other happenings and musical guests at the festival are still in the works.
“This is not organized to be an event unto itself,” Bliss said. “Instead, there are so many great things happening throughout the community over the extended holiday weekend. We are [designing this event] to allow those that come to the High Plains Festival…to also participate in the many other activities in the [area]…from tubing, to the city beach, to the flea market, to everything else the community is offering”.
So, make it a summer vacation and camp under the stars in the beautiful Northwoods Campgrounds. During the day, grab your swimsuits and sunscreen and plan a trip to tube down the river or head into town for a day at the beach. Or perhaps some boating, fishing, or disc golf and fireworks on the beach. “Like” the High Plains Festival Fan page on Facebook for the most up to date information.
Tickets and camping information are available at http://www.highplainsfest.com or you can call 1-800-493-3378 to purchase your tickets or for any questions you might have.
IF YOU GO:
High Plains Festival
When: Fri. July 1- Tues. July 5
Where: Soo Pass Ranch in Detroit Lakes
Tickets: highplainsfest.com or 1-800-493-3378
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