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Moondance Jam
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Moondance Jam V delivers on promise
100 hits for 100 years

By George Fairbanks
Staff writer

July 18, 1996

Moondance Jam V drew people from far and wide with a lineup that could appeal to nearly everyone.

This year's Jam included a larger and more diverse billing that included well-known acts such as Three Dog Night and 38 Special. A wider variety of concession stands were set up. These stands provided people with different food choices and, if they were not hungry, a place to have their navel pierced. Naval piercing turned out to be more popular than one might imagine.

This Jam also featured a place for out of town event goers to camp for a small fee. Moondance Jam sponsor Bill Bieloh said that 500 camping spots were taken, and these spots contained two to six people.

The Jam also provided an outlet for lesser-known bands like Rick Moe and the RLS Band, Matrix< The Heaters, High Tolerance, and Ripchord.

These bands provided festival-goers with the opportunity to head out and listen to music beginning at 2:00 p.m. each day, something that a good deal of them did.

A potential problem was handled deftly by Bieloh and his staff, when Mark Farner of Grand Funk Railroad was unable to perform due to doctor's orders because of a voice problem. Bieloh and his staff brought in the Grass Roots and Edgar Winter to play in the place of Grand Funk. Also playing that evening was The Byrds Celebration, a group of musicians who, at various times in their careers, played with the Byrds.

Apparently the Edgar Winter Group was a good substitute for Grand Funk Railroad. Beiloh stated that a group of people from the Bemidji area came up to him and said that they were having a great time and that, "Grand Funk really rocked."

On Saturday the music kicked off yet again with Jam host band Rick Moe and the RLS Band, followed by the Heaters and Ripchord. Once again thousands showed up early in order to hear these excellent musicians.

The nationally known Mitch Ryder took the stage around five that night and immediately sent the sizeable crowd into frenzy.

Next came Randy Bachman, who seemed to draw every last person out of their campsite and into the dance area. As Bachman and his band played, thousands danced and sang along just a few feet from the gigantic stage.

Saturday also saw three rain showers that lasted a few minutes each. However, these showers did not spoil anyone's good time. People could continue their fun in the large tent that was provided just for that reason.

Well-known and veteran band Starship featuring Mickey Thomas took the stage and further raised the energy level of the crowd. Many were dancing and singing along with the well-known Starship songs.

Around 11:00 that night, the crowd began to grow restless in anticipation of 38 Special. An estimated 12,000 came out to see the popular band and they were not disappointed. The band played late into the night, and the audience was more than happy to stay with them every step of the way.

Moondance Jam V, in the eyes of most who attended, continued Bieloh's tradition of improving the Jam each year. If Bieloh's "wish list" of the Steve Miller Band, Huey Lewis, Van Morrison, and Hootie and the Blowfish falls into place, then Moondance Jam VI will once again continue that tradition.