10,000 Lakes Jams 20,000 Fans

First Appeared in The Music Box, September 2006, Volume 13, #9

Written by Randi Whitehead


10,000 Lakes Festival

The fourth annual 10,000 Lakes Festival was held on July 19–22, 2006 in northwest Minnesota, and in a change from previous incarnations of the event, this year’s show featured performances predominately by jam bands. Acts such as String Cheese Incident; Phil Lesh & Friends; Trey Anastasio and G.R.A.B.; Medeski, Martin & Wood; and Umphrey’s McGee were slated to perform over the course of four days. The music began on Wednesday as regional bands — including an over-the-top performance by Trampled by Turtles and a surprise campground set by San Francisco’s Tea Leaf Green — got fans into a festival-oriented frame of mind for the amazing weekend that followed.

Stephen Perkins Joins Garaj Mahal

In total, about 20,000 festivarians descended on the small town of Detroit Lakes, mostly filling the camping area, which included a VIP section that was located right behind the main stage on the grounds of Soo Pass Ranch. After an afternoon that was filled with music from Garaj Mahal, Trampled by Turtles, Steve Kimock and Stephen Perkins, and Tea Leaf Green, the event truly kicked into gear. Thursday’s main acts included O.A.R. as well as String Cheese Incident’s two-part performance, which featured a massive glow stick war that was planned for the beginning of the second set but continued throughout the band’s show. Cheese fans were not disappointed as the ensemble not only delivered favored songs such as Texas, Rivertrance, and Jellyfish but also was joined by members of Garaj Mahal. The festivities continued long into the night with Railroad Earth’s performance in the Barn. String Cheese Incident’s Bill Nershi even dropped by in order to join the group on several tunes. Meanwhile, Muytaytor’s spectacular fire dancing truly engaged the crowd that was assembled on the field.

Keller Williams

After Railroad Earth’s wonderful, Friday afternoon set (which included Bird and Seven Story Mountain), the day’s continuing performances exhibited the community-minded vibe that pervaded for the duration of the weekend. There were many collaborations that occurred, not the least of which was spearheaded by the Everyone Orchestra, which featured over 16 performers from more than six different ensembles.

Friday evening’s entertainment began with a union of String Cheese Incident and songwriter Keller Williams, performing as the Keller Williams Incident. The fun-filled, two-hour set included Freeker by the Speaker and an audience of dancing fans. It was the perfect lead-in to Phil Lesh & Friends, which concluded its summer tour with what some audience members referred to as the best show of its run, and the band’s second set was stuffed with prime Grateful Dead material.

Umphrey’s McGee followed by filling the field with very rambunctious fans as it delivered a set that included selections from its latest outing Safety in Numbers. Green Lemon played its skanster-style to a smaller crowd in the Saloon, while Vince Herman’s Great American Taxi rode the Barn crowd to an exhilarating high on the hill. Assembly of Dust closed out the official performances of the early morning hours, while the drum circle in the campground continued until morning.

Hot Buttered Rum

Saturday’s weather and music continued perfectly as Hot Buttered Rum played to a dancing crowd in the sun-kissed field. Later, Keller Williams packed the Barn Stage and entertained several hundred fans with his one-man show. Tim Sparks and other more regional artists continued throughout the day before Mike Gordon & The Benevento-Russo Duo opened the Main Stage in the early evening. Most of the set, however, was sans Gordon, who briefly appeared toward the end of the show to add his bass influence. Only a short break later, Trey Anastasio and G.R.A.B played the final show of its tour, though judging from the unenthusiastic reaction of the fans, it wasn’t the best concert of the run. After a fireworks display, as Medeski, Martin & Wood’s performance simultaneously was starting in the field, Anastasio’s surprise encore of The Beatles’ Get Back served as a terrific conclusion. Being a team player, he then joined Medeski, Martin & Wood for the latter half of its set, while The Big Wu filled the stage on the hill.

Overall, the 10,000 Lakes Festival was extremely well-run, and the permanent facilities on the grounds added to the comfort of the weekend. Of course, the amazing performances by the variety of jam stylists truly entertained the kind crowd. Although word is not yet out about the possible line-up for the fifth incarnation of the event, it is hoped that the jam-friendly ambience will continue. The fans had an experience which many are still talking about and would like to repeat.


10,000 Lakes 2006 Photo Journals

Assembly of Dust

Benevento-Russo Duo

Everyone Orchestra with Steve Kimock

Garaj Mahal

Hot Buttered Rum

Keller Williams Incident

Gathering of the Tribes: People at 10K Lakes Festival

Phil Lesh & Friends

Railroad Earth

Steve Kimock / Stephen Perkins

String Cheese Incident

Trey Anastasio & Mike Gordon with the Benevento-Russo Duo

Umphrey's McGee

Vince Herman & Great American Taxi


Copyright © 2006 The Music Box