WALKER – If your boat starts rockin’ on Leech Lake July 10-12 you’ve probably caught the wave of the biggest-ever outdoor concert in six years of Moondance Jammin’.
The rock and roll festival at the expanded Moondance Ranch six miles east of Walker off Highway 200 has grown to 10 national acts. The event’s originator, Bill Bieloh, has added Thursday to the original Friday and Saturday venue.
He’s also added 160 acres north of the original ranch for campers. Many who buy the $40 three-day pass pitch tents, sleep under the stars or bed down in RVs and other mobile bedrooms of their choice.
Headline acts for Moondance VI are REO Speedwagon, America, Loverboy, Grand Funk Railroad, Marshall Tucker Band, The Turtles, Nazareth, Corey Stevens and Texas Flood, Felix Cavaliere’s Rascals and The Classic Rock All-Stars.
Comedian Ron Feingold will emcee the evening shows.
Regional bands kick off each day’s venue. Numerous concessions and peripheral activities provide recreational opportunities when the bands aren’t playing. Five shuttle vans will continuously transport festival-goers to and from Northern Lights Casino, where parking is encouraged.
Free parking at the concert site is limited on 100 acres.
Three-day tickets are $40 until July 1, when the price goes to $50. Daily passes will be available for $30. Camping fee is $10 per night.
VIP tickets are available for $200, providing three days’ admission, beverages and food.
No beverages, coolers or food is allowed in the performance area, where security is provided by Bieloh’s volunteers as well as a 24-hour mounted posse from Hubbard County. A 100 x 60 tent provides shade or shelter and is the distribution center for beer.
Area ticket outlets are Orton’s Convenience Stores, Reed’s Market, Crosslake, Willard’s Bar, Backus, The Gallery, Brainerd.
The new camping area north of the festival site offers 60 open acres and 100 wooded. Private shower trucks will be available, and emphasis this year is in recycling trash. The Cass County Environmental Services office is providing bins for recycling.
Lodging information is available by calling 1-800-833-1118.
The draw of Moondance is nostalgia, as many of the national acts were once chart-toppers or at least known for their Top Ten tunes. These groups will stir the memories as they replay the golden oldies.
They are songs such as "Happy Together" by the Turtle, "Heard It In a Love Song" by Marshall Tuck- er Band, "It’s a Beautiful Morning" and "Groovin’" from Felix Cavaliere’s Rascals, "I’m Your Captain" by Grand Funk Railroad and ’Ventura Highway" and "Horse With No Name" from America.
Timeless hits and new originals are played to a party crowd that often winds up dancing close to the stage and on top of the dry hay hales provided as seating for the thousands. Last year more than 10,000 attended. This year could see 30,000, based on brisk early ticket sales.
The night skies will again be aglow each of the three days, with fireworks marking the close of every entertainment venue.
Aside from attracting the generation that grew up with megadoses of rock and roll music, Moondance Jam draws a notable number of teens and twenty-somethings. It is promoted as a family event.
The only band to ever be booked for each day of any Moondance Jam thus far is the group called Classic Rock All-Stars. The quartet includes former lead singers from popular bands of the ’70s. Guitarist Mike Pinera formerly played in the Iron Butterfly and the Blues Image. Keyboardist Jerry Corbetta was once with Sugarloaf. Drummer Peter Rivera banked a few hits with Rare Earth. Bassist Dennis Noda is known for his notable numbers with Cannibal and the Headhunters.
The All-Stars’ compact disc includes hits from their former ensembles. Among them: "Get Ready," "Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You," "Green-Eyed Lady," and "In a Gadda Da Vida."