Lakes Jam made its debut last year in the Brainerd Lakes area and did so well that organizers gave it a go a second time. Snuggled into the grounds of worldwide known Brainerd International Raceway and Resort, or (B.I.R.) there was ample room and camping for attendees of the event. The only thing the festival had going against it was the soggy reception. The forecast promised rain showers and thunderstorms all weekend long, and for the most part that is what the weather was doing. Lakes Jam began on June 26 with the prejam continuing until June 28.
Headliners include country crooner Clay Walker, frontman of the rock group Poison and TV personality of "Rock of Love" and winner of "Celebrity Apprentice 3", Bret Michaels. Heavy metal all girl AC/DC tribute group, ThundHerStruck, 80’s pop super group Starship featuring Mickey Thomas, country newcomer Maggie Rose, country singer and American Idol season 5 alum Bucky Covington, pop rock group Uncle Kracker and regional country artist Chris Hawkey.
Things started out to a wet start Friday with several acts having to delay their sets, but it wasn’t much of a delay. A little rain never hurt anyone, it’s the lightning that organizers have to shut things down for safety reasons. People didn’t let the rain stop them, they still came out to enjoy some great music. Maggie Rose is no stranger to performing and she put on a great performance, with stellar vocals, with vocal styling of Kellie Pickler and Shania Twain. The crowd seemed to enjoy her brand of country pop music that was nowhere near any bro-country that is owning the airwaves lately.
Ironically, Rose is hooking up with one of the major leaders of the bro-country movement, Florida Georgia Line for a cruise with several other artists later this fall. Rose had some great songs, including “Preachers Daughter” and “Say Something.”
Towards the end of Rose’s set, the sky opened up and flooded the arena with rain once again. VIP People retreated to the nearby VIP tent, and others just braved it. It didn’t last long, and stagehands could be seen, rushing around the stage, uncovering instruments and drying up the water for Clay Walker.
Clay Walker stepped on the stage just after ten or so, and the crowd that gathered near the stage were more than ready for him. Walker himself had some trouble with the elements, during his performance the wind kept coming up and he had to grab a hold of his signature Stetson. He shook it off with a smile and twinkle in his eye. At one point confetti was blown through some cannons, and some of it stuck to the end of his guitar too.
Walker seemed to favor being up in Northern Minnesota, he remarked several times that “There’s a lot of hot women up here, I don’t know if it’s something in the water or what…” He also quipped that he wishes it was warmer as the ladies would wear less clothing. Walker soared through past hits, and also performed several numbers from his upcoming release “Rock the Radio.” Including, "What's It to You", "Live Until I Die", Dreaming with My Eyes Open", "If I Could Make a Living", "This Woman and This Man", and "Rumor Has It"
Overall the festival is not too big and not too small, it’s just right. The perfect addition to existing music festivals in the area such as Moondance Jam, and Halfway Jam. Despite the rain, it was an amazing night of music and fun for everyone.