The annual 10,000 Lakes Festival got off to a rollicking start last night with two sets of vintage jam-band pyrotechnics by Widespread Panic, one of those bands that doesn’t get a lick of airplay anywhere, but—like the Grateful Dead and Phish before them—has legions of fans who flock to its live shows.
Panic’s product—southern-style gumbo rock delivered in rolling waves of escalating tension and release in front of thousands of inebriated fans riding every wave—doesn’t quite translate through a set of car speakers. They’re one of those bands that takes the energy of the moment—in this case a beautiful, bugless 70-degree evening on Soo Pass Ranch in Detroit Lakes—and alchemically transforms it into a hell of a party. A party with long guitar solos, that is.
Not that getting people to party at 10KLF is difficult: that’s what most of them—young, really young, old, and really old—came here to do. The smart ones pace themselves, because there’s a lot of music to get through in the next few days, ending on Saturday night with the only Midwest appearance this year by the Dave Matthews Band.
Today’s lineup is fairly Midwestern: Tonight, on the mainstage, we’ll see the Honeydogs, followed by Mason Jennings, and ending with Wilco. After Wilco, in the wee hours at the festival’s other three stages are hip-hoppers Atmosphere, bluesman Junior Brown, and—all the way until 3:00 a.m.— a hard-rock bar outfit called The Parlor Mob.
I’ll be covering the action as best I can, assuming the electricity, batteries, and Wi-Fi hold out. So far, the action in the campground has been fairly tame. Until 4:30 a.m., that is, when a hippie bus painted with suns and lightning bolts rolled in, carrying eight or 10 college buddies from Madison. They couldn’t sleep, it seems, and apparently don’t intend to. We’ll see how that goes. There’s also a mother/daughter team from South Dakota camped next to us, and one of them snores like a bear.
But the weirdest thing I've seen so far is a guy who dangles his sunglasses from the ring piercing his nipple. He was holding a three-year-old, who grabbed the glasses and yanked them. Hard. This is one of the 192 reasons why I advise all prospective fathers to think twice about getting their nipples pierced.
More fun to come—stay tuned.