The day could not have been any more perfect on Saturday at the Moondance Jammin Country fest, held just outside of Walker, Minn. Starting out the day was the first ever Beer pong competition which had a large number of participants. It looked as though everyone was having a great time.
First to take the stage was regional group Lost Highway who play a variety of current country hits. The area in front of the stage was just beginning to fill with people as the band took the stage. Lost Highway have been here quite a few times, and most were familiar with the group’s energy on stage, and sang along with several numbers. Lead singer Jesse Charles even jumped into the photo pit and interacted with fans while he walked off the stage.
Sarah Darling was slated to take the stage next however she had the opportunity to participate in ABC’s new music reality show, Rising Star, and pulled out of the festival; so Darling was replaced with The Shuggah Pies.
The Shuggah Pies are a country trio from Nashville who have similar harmony to the Dixie Chicks. Composed of three sisters, Courtney lead vocals, and Amy and Angela on guitar and vocals. The crowd really seemed to get in to the girls upbeat tempo, throwing in a few covers here and there. A brilliant version of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison” had the crowd singing and clapping along.
There would be a brief intermission before the next artist would take the stage, along with a tribute to the troops, an annual event held at each festival that Moondance puts on. Where local hometown soldiers are honored on the main stage, with active and non-active soldiers, which also includes a stunning rendition of Lee Greenwoods “God Bless The USA” by local singer Ryan Pels.
Next up was Joe Nichols who is best known for “Brokenheartsville” “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off” and “Gimmie That Girl” Nichols knows how to work a crowd, he’s had years to perfect it, and he did so flawlessly. Although those are his main hits, he recently released “Crickets” which has spanned hits “Sunny and 75” and his current single “Yeah.” Nichols voice sounded strong and relaxed as he soared through a great catalog of music.
Hunter Hayes was to take the stage next. Hayes who got a quick start on his career thanks to the likes of country superstar Carrie underwood, who took Hayes out on the road on the Blown Away Tour. Hayes quickly came into himself developing his style and stage presence night after night. Hayes is best known for “Wanted”, “I Want Crazy” and current hit “Invisible” Hayes had a ton of energy on stage, and had the teen girls directly in front of the stage, swooning and screaming all through his show. Hayes even jumped off stage at the close of his show, and high-fived and posed for selfies with his teenage following.
Overall the festival seemed to have something for everyone, whether it was playing beer pong, celebrating in the campgrounds, casually listening to live music a top the grass hill, or just a genuine music lover, Moondance Jammin Country has something for everyone, and let’s not forget new friends made, or friends you made years ago that have returned just like you year after year. Jammin Country still is the littlest biggest festival you will ever find, where friendships are made to last a lifetime.