Lakes Bluegrass Festival breaks drought

Downpours unlike any seen all summer plague the Lakes Bluegrass Festival at its debut at new location

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The Sons of Wisconsin was one of the newer bands to the Lakes Bluegrass Festival the weekend of Aug. 26-29. Travis Grimler / Echo Journal

Locals likely found it hard to complain about the intermittent downpours at the Aug. 26-29 Lakes Bluegrass Festival in Pine River after months of virtually no rain. So they just sat under the large tent and enjoyed the show.

Organizers were determined to keep the show running so long as lightning didn't show up.

"Even in the rain we didn't have any real big problems," said Tim Roggenkamp, performer and organizer. "Just a little bit of juggling around when we had to move under the pavilion when the lightning started, but the show went on."

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Volunteer Jackie Wetrosky knocks rain off a tent at the Lakes Bluegrass Festival to keep it from collapsing. Travis Grimler / Echo Journal


This year marked the return of favorite bands, including Shaffers Lost 40, as well as new groups. Appalachian Road Show got rave reviews, especially for its conclusion to the Friday night show. Among the bands providing workshops in perhaps the driest place in the entire park, High Fidelity and High Plains Tradition came highly recommended.

Being the first year at the new 30-acre Lakes Music and Events Park, this event helped to identify areas that needed improvement, and the rain helped in that way.

"We now know where we need to put some more gravel and beef up our roads a little bit," Roggenkamp said. "We had a few things at the front gate where we need to widen that a bit so while people are waiting to get in we have another lane for people who already have tickets."

He said they need more signage and other small tweaks. There didn't seem to be any major issues and the event was overall well received.

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One of the driest areas of the Lakes Bluegrass Festival was the open air space for workshops. Travis Grimler / Echo Journal

"(We received) glowing reviews with people saying it's one of the best bluegrass events they've ever been to with the new park," Roggenkamp said. "They always liked the music at the fairgrounds, but with this new park they just loved it."

Roggenkamp said attendance for the first year at the Lakes Music and Events Park did not disappoint. Numbers were not yet available, but he said the event is in the black with a large increase in campers though perhaps a decrease in the day passes due to rain.


Travis Grimler is a staff writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper in Pequot Lakes/Pine River. He may be reached at 218-855-5853 or

Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
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