I made it back to my house earlier today, and I have to admit a shave and hot shower felt great after four nights in the great outdoors. But I didn’t feel quite ready to return to civilization – you know, couches and TVs and air-conditioned buildings. It’s comfortable and I’m sure I’ll sleep great tonight, but I think it will take a while to not miss being outside so much during the day.
Last night was a great finale to the festival. First up on the main stage was Umphrey’s McGee, who delivered two hours of intricate jam rock to get the growing crowd pumped up. They definitely are talented musicians and there were a lot of people at the festival that were excited to see them, but I personally thought their music was a bit bland and spent part of their show back at the campground.
I went back to the concert bowl just after 8 p.m. to see the Dave Matthews Band take the stage. I was prepared for a huge crowd, but it was packed all over the Soo Pass Ranch and thousands of extra people showed up just for the Saturday night lineup. There was an obvious wave of fresh energy that these people brought to the campground – everyone that had been there since Wednesday was still having a good time, but getting tired out from days of camping and late nights roaming around the ranch. It was kind of nice to have an influx of new people because it helped revitalize everyone around them too.
The Dave show was more energetic than I was expecting, and I actually liked a few of the songs they played (that’s saying a lot because I’m not a big fan of DMB). More importantly, the crowd seemed to really enjoy every minute of the show and loved the mix of older stuff ("Ants Marching," "Jimi Thing") and some tracks from their newest album. They kept the energy high until the fireworks finale just after 11 p.m.
Even then, the festival wasn’t over. Bands played from midnight until 3 a.m. at a couple of the stages – I decided to go to Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, a wise decision. They were awesome in so many ways – I loved how they got the whole crowd to dance along, and it was great watching Jones dance her way through the set too. I would highly recommend checking them out sometime if you ever get the chance (this was their first time playing in Minnesota, but hopefully they come back soon!)
I’m still processing the festival. After four nights in a tent, with four full days of music and walking around campgrounds, it’s hard to even comprehend everything that I did over the last few days. This festival was a great way to check out a lot of bands, both ones that I already loved and ones that would become new favorites after a live show, without spending a fortune or having to drive far away. It definitely had its own target audience – 20-34 year olds who tended to be more hippie than you would find at an alternative rock or country music festival – but it did a good job of blending the different segments of the crowd into one group of music lovers. Everyone got along well (from what I saw and heard at least), and I think it was hard to not have a good time there. At times, it was hard to believe all this was happening in Minnesota – I often wondered where these people came from and what they did when they weren’t spending time at festivals. An event like this lets people relax and get away with spending four nights devoted to live music and meeting new music lovers. That’s something that I wish could happen more often around here. I guess I’ll just have to wait for next year’s 10,000 Lakes Festival for another break from the outside world where people don’t dance down the streets and wear glowsticks from head to toe.