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Moondance Jam 21
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Moondance Jam
Record crowds weren't discouraged by rain threat at 5th annual festival

Pine River Journal
By Louis Hoglund

Thursday, July 18, 1996

Rains threatened, but Mother Nature showed restraint July 12-13 -- resulting in new attendance records at the fifth annual Moondance Jam near Walker.

Total attendance at the outdoor music festival over the course of two days broke 20,000, according to Moondance spokesman Paul Nye. This figure was up at least 5,000 over last year.

Forecasts of rain concerned promoters, but for the most part, rains were intermittent and light during the course of the two days. The worst downpour was during set-up on Thursday, July 11.

"The weather really didn't end up being a factor," said Nye. "And we were well prepared for it," he added, including canopies for the sound system and an immense tent for the crowd. There was one small shower Friday, and a brief downpour prior to the headline act "38 Special" Saturday, at about 11pm--but it dissipated quickly and the show went on.

Promoters turned a potential setback into a positive Friday, when headline act Grand Funk Railroad's lead singer lost his voice. The band cancelled only 24 hours before showtime. Promoters scrambled, booking two acts to replace Grand Funk: The Grassroots and the Edgar Winter Group. "We hoped that, by replacing with two bands, we would please the crowd," said Nye. "It appeared to be successful, because we had very few complaints and only a few refunds to those who wanted to see Grand Funk."

Rounding out the schedule on Friday was the Byrds Celebration and Three Dog Night. On Saturday, Detroit rock legend Mitch Ryder, Randy Bachman and Starship, featuring Mickey Thomas preceded 38 Special. At the peak--during 38 Special--Nye estimated the crowd at 12,000.

More than six regional bands filled out the schedule, performing prior to the national acts.

The fifth annual Moondance was appropriately part of the Walker Centennial slate of activities. In celebrating the community's 100th birthday, the Walker Fire Department delivered impressive displays both nights of the festival.