rock concertgoers find romance at festival
By Don Davis, The Forum
Published Saturday, July 17, 2004
WALKER, Minn. -- Moondance Jam is something special for Roxy Laine and
Holland rode his motorcycle from his Barnesville home in a heavy rain
to last year’s classic rock music festival. He arrived before his
Barnesville friends got there with their camping equipment. A group of
women from International Falls saw the cold biker nearby and invited
him to their shelter.
Laine arrived to visit friends at the International Falls camping spot
the next day, on her July 11 birthday. She and Holland met that day and
have been dating since.
“It’s been the best thing for me, ever,” Laine said.
Laine, from Detroit Lakes, attended her first Moondance Jam last year.
But she promised to celebrate at Moondance with Holland every year.
It’s not just romance, said Holland, a former drummer and Moondance
veteran. “This is a real escape for us.”
Moondance jammers may be at a classic rock festival, but county music’s
WE Fest near Detroit Lakes is a frequent topic of conversation.
Often, WE Fest is not spoken of favorably.
“It’s a better atmosphere than WE Fest,” offered Karen
Johnson of Barnesville.
“It’s cleaner here,” added Mike Ness, also from Barnesville. “There
are no bugs.”
“People are nicer,” Bob Collins of Horace, N.D., said about
Moondance. “There are a lot less young ’uns here.”
Detroit Lake’s country festival, which runs Aug. 5-7 this year,
is twice the size of Moondance.
There is plenty of security at Moondance, but owner and organizer Bill
Bieloh said it seldom is needed.
With up to 20,000 rock music fans in the field southeast of Walker,
there is potential for problems, according to Sgt. Scott Thompson of
the Cass County Sheriff’s Department. But he praises Bieloh’s
organization for keeping matters in hand.
Bieloh said the county provides the jam’s main security, with
up to 30 deputies from the area. Campground security officers come from
around the state.
The Walker police chief organizes concert security.
Bieloh estimated that up to 150 security people will work the festival
before it is done early Sunday, with 120 them licensed police officers.
Thompson said security includes an undercover narcotics officer.