Whether it’s bluegrass, country, rock or traditional Native American music, North Dakota is home to a variety of summer music festivals that bring the sun and the fun.
This summer, the Missouri River Bluegrass Festival at Cross Ranch State Park celebrates its 30th year, while Lake Metigoshe hosts newcomer country music festival, LandoLive, for its second year.
LandoLive returns to Lake Metigoshe for second year
by Pete Erickson
Country music fans will gather at Lake Metigoshe this July to enjoy the second annual LandoLive music festival. Seven bands will provide nine hours of great country music on two stages that music fans won’t want to miss!
LandoLive is set for Saturday, July 16, at Lake Metigoshe, 12 miles north of Bottineau in north central North Dakota. The brainchild of Landon Bahl, of Minot, LandoLive is the cumulation of years of planning by Bahl.
“When I was in college, I had the unique opportunity to work many music festivals, concerts and award shows and grew to love the music industry,” he says.
Bahl landed a college internship at Country Music Television (CMT) in Nashville, where he gained valuable experience and made music industry connections. After college, he worked at an artist agency, and then became the booking manager at an NBA arena in Oklahoma City.
“I learned a lot from these experiences, but ultimately found a passion for working in the music industry,” Bahl says. “I told myself someday it would be cool to start a music festival and watch it grow to success, especially back home in North Dakota.”
The result was the debut of LandoLive last summer at Lake Metigoshe. Bahl established the venue location next to his business, Metigoshe Dock and Lift. The land adjacent to the building has a natural slope that creates a nice amphitheater effect, making it perfect for a music festival.
“Everything went way better than I expected last year, and we got great support from the community and volunteers to make it a huge success,” Bahl says. He is thankful for everyone who purchased tickets last year, taking a risk on a new festival. And, he hopes to build on last year’s success with this summer’s festival.
CAPACITY TO GROW
Granger Smith headlines the 2022 LandoLive lineup. Smith has produced three top 20 hits on the country music charts, including “Backroad Song.” Although Smith is the headliner, people attending the festival will also enjoy a strong lineup of country music acts on two stages, including:
• Kameron Marlowe
• Frank Ray
• Lake and Lyndale
• Brianna Helbling
• Raquel and the Wildflowers
• October Rose
Great country music is just part of what makes the festival a fun event. Food and other vendors add to the festival atmosphere.
Last year, 1,500 people attended the festival. Bahl says the festival has the capacity to grow, with room to expand to allow for 10,000 people over a two-day event.
“We are anticipating a crowd of more than 2,500 this year,” he says. “We doubled our talent budget for this year, and we also gave the venue a quick makeover, so festival attendees will get a great experience.”
The size of all bar and drink areas have been increased this year, too.
“I went last year and really enjoyed the music and the fun atmosphere,” says Jaycee Kleven, a North Central Electric Cooperative employee from Bottineau.
Kleven already has her tickets for this year’s event and enjoys meeting with friends and the festival experience. “I’m looking forward to seeing Granger Smith. I really like his ‘Backroad Song’ hit,” she says.
North Central Electric Cooperative in Bottineau will provide the electric power again for this year’s LandoLive festival.
Pete Erickson is member services manager for North Central Electric Cooperative in Bottineau.
The second annual LandoLive country music festival
• Saturday, July 16, 3 p.m. to 1 a.m.
• 4835 Lake Loop Rd., Lake Metigoshe, 12 miles north of Bottineau.
• Nine hours of music on two stages, featuring country music artist and headliner Granger Smith, and music from Kameron Marlowe, Frank Ray, Lake and Lyndale, Raquel and the Wildflowers, Brianna Helbling and October Rose.
• Festival admission: $54 for general admission, $84 for VIP, with ticket prices increasing June 1 and again July 16. Tickets can be purchased online at www.landolivend.com or at the festival gate.
• Parking is free, and reserved parking is available for purchase. Carpooling is encouraged.
• For more information, visit www.landolivend.com or LandoLive Music Festival on Facebook.
Find more ways to enjoy the music and other events at www.NDTourism.com.
Missouri River Bluegrass Festival celebrates 30 years
by Pat Stockdill
It’s a musical genre that, for those who know it, really know and feel it – a down-home connection to music, family and friends. It speaks from the heart and flows through one’s veins.
It’s also a musical genre that once a person hears it, feels it and experiences it, they just might find it flowing through their veins as well: It’s bluegrass music and the Missouri River Bluegrass Festival June 17 and 18 at Cross Ranch State Park, west river (Missouri River) of Washburn.
The festival marks its 30th year in 2022, says Linda Schwartz, treasurer/director with the Bluegrass Association of North Dakota. She attributes its long-running success to a combination of the unique music, family atmosphere and the park’s setting – complete with camping opportunities along its Missouri River wooded bottomlands.
MUSIC, FRIENDSHIP AND TALENT
There’s a reason a bluegrass festival is called a festival: It’s a celebratory experience of music, friendships and different talents, with techniques and personalities of its musicians and singers coming out in every song. Each musician showcases individual talents during a “break” in a bluegrass song, Schwartz says, making it different than country music.
Missouri River Bluegrass Festival attendees can attend for one night, one day or both days.
In the case of the Missouri River Bluegrass Festival, attendees not only enjoy several band performances, but they can bring their own instruments and learn how to play a bluegrass song during a Saturday workshop. They might even be able to sit around and play alongside some of the band members at the workshop.
The Missouri River Bluegrass Festival showcases the wickedly amazing talents of musicians, with six bands playing any variety of stringed instruments – mandolin, guitars, bass, banjo or a mean fiddle – and maybe toss in a bit of harmonica, all the while telling stories in song of happiness, sadness and anything in-between.
Bluegrass music is rooted in history, and a festival atmosphere is unique. As a bluegrass musician, Schwarz enjoys the Missouri River Bluegrass Festival for more than its music. It’s also about friendships.
“You see people you haven’t seen since last year,” she says. As a fan of bluegrass music, “you connect with the people, you connect with the music.”
The music itself dates back as far as colonial times with Irish and Scottish settlers and the 1920s, when the term “bluegrass” was coined in recognition of musician Bill Monroe and his band, The Blue Grass Boys, featuring their unique style of string instruments.
In other words, even today, it’s a unique blend of talented musicians. North Dakota has several bluegrass bands, and four will be on display at the Missouri River Bluegrass Festival.
When mid-June rolls around, the Missouri River Bluegrass Festival might be a perfect opportunity to experience the special allure of a bluegrass festival, while connecting with North Dakota’s great outdoors in Cross Ranch State Park.
Tucked along the woods of the state’s last free-flowing segment of the Missouri River, the park and Missouri River Bluegrass Festival is served by Roughrider Electric Cooperative, headquartered in Hazen and Dickinson.
Pat Stockdill is a freelance writer from Garrison and member of McLean Electric Cooperative.
The 30th annual Missouri River Bluegrass Festival
• Friday, June 17, 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., and Saturday, June 18, 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
• Cross Ranch State Park, south of Washburn on the west side of the Missouri River.
• Bluegrass bands performing both days feature North Dakota bands, Cotton Wood, The Bluestems and The Waddington Bros., along with the WoodPicks from Minnesota. Evie Andrus & Kasey Moore from Tennessee and North Dakota’s Monroe Doctrine will perform June 18.
• Guest bands will present a free music workshop, “Learn a bluegrass song,” beginning at 1 p.m. June 18 in the park’s shop.
• Festival admission: $15 Friday, $20 Saturday or $30 for both days, along with a $7 daily park entrance admission or an annual N.D. Parks and Recreation Department pass. Admission for children 16 years old and younger is free.
• Bring your own lawn chair and insect repellent.
• Smoking, alcohol and pets are not allowed in the concert area.