WE Fest 2023 to kick off with 40th anniversary 'birthday bash' on Aug. 2

WE Fest's 40th-anniversary run on Aug. 3-5 will be preceded by a "birthday bash" on Wednesday, Aug. 2, where attendees can listen to live music, win prizes and more.

Cheat Codes.jpg
The Los Angeles-based music trio Cheat Codes will be the featured performers for WE Fest's 40th Anniversary Birthday Bash on Wednesday, Aug. 2. Gates will open at 6 p.m., with the live music to start at 8 p.m.
Contributed / WE Fest 2023

DETROIT LAKES — WE Fest will kick off its 40th-anniversary run at Detroit Lakes' Soo Pass Ranch with a big "birthday bash" on Wednesday, Aug. 2.

"Technically, it's 41 years, but we didn't have a show in 2020," says WE Fest General Manager Mark Bjerke. "So this is our 40th anniversary, and we're going to celebrate it."

Traditionally, a kick-off party is held the Wednesday night before WE Fest. This year the event will be a bigger celebration, commemorating the 1983 launch of the first festival. Tickets for the WE Fest 40th Birthday Party are available for all to purchase, whether they are attending this year's WE Fest or not — but ticket holders for the 2023 festival can purchase a discounted ticket for Wednesday night, using a specially provided passcode.

The birthday party will feature a performance by multi-platinum, Los Angeles-based Cheat Codes , an internationally known musical trio with hits in electronic, dance, pop and most recently, country genres. Gates open at 6 p.m., with Cheat Codes performing at 8 p.m. Fresh off their newest release, "One Night in Nashville," attendees will experience why the trio has a total streaming tally of over 6 billion plays.

In addition, attendees will have the opportunity to win prizes, enjoy WE Fest food vendors and drink specials, and view the 40th Anniversary WE Fest Family Photo Album on the Jumbotron. This presentation is a compilation of archived performance photos and photos submitted by WE Fest fans throughout its 39-year history. DJ B-Rock will also be playing the WE Fest 40th Birthday playlist, featuring WE Fest performers through the decades.


Also, everyone that attends the Wednesday event will be entered into a drawing to win a three-year lease on a brand-new Ford F-150 pickup, courtesy of Northland Ford.

If you go

What: We Fest 40th Birthday Party
Where: Soo Pass Ranch, Detroit Lakes
When: Wednesday, Aug. 2, 6 p.m.
How: Tickets may be purchased via the website, , or by calling the ticket office at 1-833-293-3378. Phone lines are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (CST) Monday-Friday.

More about WE Fest

Launched in 1983, WE Fest is one of the nation’s largest country music festivals. Headliners for its 40th-anniversary run on Aug. 3-5 are Morgan Wallen , Brad Paisley and Kane Brown .

Other acts scheduled to appear include the Brothers Osborne, Gabby Barrett, Chase Rice, Travis Tritt, Blackberry Smoke, Ernest, Bailey Zimmerman, Neal McCoy, Jo Dee Messina, Ashland Craft, Ben Burgess and Ashley Cooke. Cowboy Troy will return as Main Stage host for a second straight year. There will be additional entertainment and live music performances at the Soo Pass Ranch Saloon, Barn Stage and Country Club throughout the festival's three-day run as well.

There are some three-day and single-day general admission tickets and camping opportunities still available, though all of the VIP, grandstand and reserve tickets, as well as the pit passes, are sold out for this year. For more information, visit the WE Fest website, , or call the ticket office at 1-833-293-3378.

A reporter at Detroit Lakes Newspapers since relocating to the community in October 2000, Vicki was promoted to Community News Lead for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and Perham Focus on Jan. 1, 2022. She has covered pretty much every "beat" that a reporter can be assigned, from county board and city council to entertainment, crime and even sports. Born and raised in Madelia, Minnesota, she is a graduate of Hamline University, from which she earned a bachelor's degree in English literature (writing concentration). You can reach her at
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