Top Entertainment Free with Gate Admission
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Hitchville8:30 p.m. (In the Park)
Hard at work in Nashville on their sophomore project scheduled for a Spring 2016 release, Hitchville was humbled to have that forthcoming album’s first single, “Even When It’s Bad It’s Good” rocket to #1 on the iHeartRadio Top 5 Countdown just a few short weeks after its release in 2015. The band has even more recently realized another big dream of theirs: to start their own country music and camping festival…and so it began! The First Annual Hitchville Hootenanny took place August 14 & 15, 2015 with some of the region’s most sought after talent and was a resounding success! Plans are already underway for the 2nd annual in 2016.
They trekked to Nashville in 2012 to record their self-titled debut release which spawned their first hit single “Whoop It Up”. The song has since become an anthem that proves relevant to not just the summer months, as it garnered major market radio support year round, everywhere from the upper Midwest, to Florida, Texas, and Nashville. The group’s second single “Fly” hit radio soon afterwards, and can still be frequently heard (as well as “Whoop It Up”) in between innings at Minnesota Twins’ home games at Target Field in Minneapolis. Hitchville’s third single, “I’ll Be Right There”, penned by two-time Grammy winner Ben Glover, also received rave reviews once it hit the air, and remains a crowd favorite at their live shows. In their time together, Hitchville has graced the main stages of some of the region’s largest festivals, including Moondance Jammin’ Country, Country Fest, Country Jam, Ramble Jam, and 4 years straight at the biggest country music and camping festival in the nation, WE Fest. They have been blessed to open those stages for some of the biggest superstars in country…from Carrie Underwood and Rascal Flatts, to Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith, and Luke Bryan, to Big & Rich, Sugarland, Zac Brown Band, and Blake Shelton. The band has even recently returned from their second consecutive headlining concert in the form of a huge beach party for Miller Lite and the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings at the Hard Rock Hotel in Cancun, Mexico.
Over the past few years, fans have come to know to expect the unexpected at a Hitchville show. There’s really only one place where the beer is always cold, the people are always friendly, the music is always world class, and the energy is always palpable…they’d like to welcome everybody home… to Hitchville.
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Hairball8:30 p.m. (In the Park)
Vocalists Bobby, Steve and Joe Dandy lead the band through a 2+ hour, mind-blowing, and drop-dead accurate homage to some of the biggest arena acts in the world. Van Halen, KISS, Motley Crue, Queen, Journey, and Aerosmith are but a few of the acts fans will see brought to life. The Hairball stage becomes an entirely new rock concert before your very eyes countless times throughout the night.
The motor that drives the Hairball dragster consists of Freaky on the electric bass, Blake on the drums, and Happy on the lead guitar. These Rock & Roll soldiers pride themselves on nailing some of the most memorable licks and chops of all time, while adding their own style and flare that they’ve cultivated over decades of tireless performing. These guys live and breathe Rock & Roll!
2016 finds Hairball celebrating its 16th year of rocking hundreds of thousands of people across the country. Every day it adds more characters, more pyrotechnics, more lights, more sound, more props, more surprises…more everything! While Happy often tells the audience “Today is the first day is the rest of your life!” Hairball performs every show as though it could be its last. Every night is a 100% full-on, no-holds-barred, exciting, chaotic, fiery party that has to be experienced to be believed!
As important to Hairball as the music are its fans. While many bands claim to have the best fans in the world, Hairball actually has! Whether they’re 8 or 85, Hairball fans bring an unparalleled enthusiasm and energy to the show that completes the Arena Rock experience. Hairball knows it wouldn’t exist without its fans, and takes every opportunity to let them know that. Whether it’s a pre-show meet and greet, hanging out at the merch booth, or chatting online, Hairball has a lot in common with its fans and it’s always a good time when they get together.
Don’t confuse Hairball with the countless “’80s Tribute” bands across the country. Hairball is an event; an attitude and expression of music and showmanship that isn’t a retro-flashback. It’s a way of life…and it’s not going away!
Thursday, August 17, 2017
Lizzy -The Dream Girl5:30 & 7:30 p.m. (In the M.C.A.)
Lizzy has a college degree in Psychology and a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. Lizzy chose to continue the family tradition in entertainment and pursue a career as a stage hypnotist. She has used her knowledge and expertise to create a hypnosis show that is unique, funky, and fresh.
When she is not performing, Lizzy works in the field of psychology. She believes that the more we can smile and laugh together, the better our lives will be, because laughter is one of the best kinds of therapy.
Gear Daddies8:30 p.m. (In the Park)
Their most notable mainstream success was when they played "Stupid Boy" on Late Night with David Letterman in 1991. Zellar had this to say of the experience: "I was so nervous, and it all happened so quickly. I couldn't tell you what the hell happened. I got done, and I was walking back and said to Randy (Broughten), 'Did I sing all the words? Did I do that?' When I watched it that night in the hotel room I had no recollection of having lived it."
Arguably, Zellar’s “I Wanna Drive the Zamboni" is the band’s best-known song, having been featured in the movies D2: The Mighty Ducks and Mystery, Alaska, as well as on the television program Malcolm in the Middle. It's also a staple at hockey games throughout North America and Europe.
Gear Daddies have been mentioned as an influence on a number of bands that emerged in the Upper Midwest in the late 1980s through the 1990s, including : The Billy's, Violet, Shoot Lucy, Dazy Head Mazy, Groundhouse and Six Mile Grove.
Currently, in addition to their respective individual pursuits, the guys of Gear Daddies reunite several times a year to perform throughout the Midwest.
Friday, August 18, 2017
Heart Song4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. (In the Park)
Holy Rocka Rollaz6:30 p.m. (In the M.C.A.)
This high-energy Minneapolis trio has been bringing their exciting show to thousands of car show fans, prestigious venues and family friendly city events for four years. Their legend continues to grow. Using vintage instruments and having spent years studying the styles of all the early rock ‘n’ rollers, this band knows how to deliver the spirit and sound of those pioneers. Lead singer/guitarist Mark Flora plays a hollow body Gretsch through tube amps, bassist/singer Lisa Lynn slaps a mean upright bass and drummer/singer Matt Alexander pounds an old Gretsch drum kit.
Saturday, August 19, 2017
William Michael Morgan8:30 p.m. (In the Park)
I’d play it all night long, Girl
I tell you what I’d put it on, Girl
I’d put it on vinyl
Country music is at its best when youthful energy carries tradition forward. It’s what the likes of Dwight Yoakam, Ricky Skaggs and Garth Brooks brought to the format, and it’s what fans and critics alike are looking for in modern-day country.
Look no further than William Michael Morgan. That fresh-take-on-a-classic-sound approach was apparent when he was a 14-year-old playing four sets a night of Haggard, Strait and Waylon in Mississippi honky-tonks that had “everything but the chicken wire,” and it’s apparent now in his debut album, Vinyl. Throughout its 11 songs, he brings a voice and manner older than his 23 years to bear on music written by him and many of today’s best tunesmiths.
It’s a combination summed up in the album’s title track, a song about new love as vintage, as fresh and timeless as the vinyl that embodies a lifetime’s worth of classic records—and a substance enjoying a resurgence as young people everywhere savor its audio magic.
“I am such a fan of the traditional approach,” he says, “but I want to make it as fresh as you can possibly make it. The song 'Vinyl' caught my attention the minute I heard it. I think that combination of old and new suits me to a 'T'."
It certainly does. William Michael has written with and drawn from many of the city’s best present-day songwriters even as he takes inspiration from heroes like Keith Whitley, George Jones and his friend and mentor, '90s honky-tonk king Mark Chesnutt. He is a veteran of the Louisiana Hayride, whose stage hosted Hank Sr., Elvis and so many others, and he is a mainstay at the Grand Ole Opry, a timeless institution showcasing the best of modern country and gladly showcasing William Michael's talents nearly two dozen times.
The album captures the magic the Hayride, the Opry and present-day country radio have all embraced. It opens with the crisp Fender guitar of "People Like Me," the perfect introduction to someone with a lifelong affinity for working people, and closes with "Back Seat Driver," a touching piece of intergenerational storytelling. In between, there is love and loss, work, relaxation and escape, all anchored in William Michael's expressive baritone and in classic instrumentation.
“We always had a steel guitar in my early bands, and I’ve had one ever since,” he says. “If it came down to it, I would pick a steel guitar over a lead guitar any day, just because I love that lonesome sound. Even in my ear piece on stage, where some people just want voice and maybe an acoustic, I like a little bit of steel in it because it puts me in my element.”
Nowhere is William Michael's ability to bridge musical gaps more apparent than in the breakthrough hit that made his name, quickly earning five million YouTube views and six million streams. The sweetly romantic “I Met a Girl” was written by three men who couldn’t be more cutting-edge—Trevor Rosen, Sam Hunt and Shane McAnally—and yet William Michael’s heartfelt vocals bring shades of the '80s and channel the romance of Conway and the honesty of Randy Travis.
"I Know Who He Is," written by William Michael's frequent collaborator Casey Beathard, is a touching look at the relationship of a son to a father facing dementia. "It took everything I had not to cry while singing it," he says. "It's our chance to use a great song to shine light on this subject."
On the other end of the spectrum is "Missing," a bit of pure escapism that proclaims, "Sometimes missing is my favorite place to be."
"Everybody needs to be missing from time to time," he says, "to get off the grid, myself included. It helps to clear your mind and get away from the real world a little bit."
In summing up the album's approach, he says, "It’s all about how you produce it and feel it and write it and sing it. You can keep it country, meaning you tell stories and bring honesty to it, and still make it sound fresh and different. We’re all on the same highway. Some of us are in the right lane, some of us are in the left, but we’re all headed for the same place.”
William Michael earned his place on the highway during a childhood in Vicksburg, with Marty Robbins the first artist whose music really moved him. He remembers even as a youngster the way he was affected by great country lyrics. Then, he and his family attended Riverfest in Vicksburg and saw Dierks Bentley perform.
"That's what really opened my eyes up to what I wanted to do," he says. "Seeing him play and feed off the energy of that crowd changed everything."
He was 11 when he got his first guitar and 13 when he started playing out with guys three or four times his age, learning the old songs and savoring that classic honky-tonk feel. He got his start with a dancing crowd at Bo's Hideaway in Fayette and eventually played all over Mississippi and Louisiana. His parents were right there, driving him to and from late-night gigs, sometimes hours away, often getting little sleep before they headed to their own jobs.
“They always encouraged me,” he says, “and a lot of people say it, but I wouldn’t be anywhere without them.” His dad handled an early MySpace account, networking and looking for opportunities. One came in the form of the Hayride, which William Michael played at least once a month for years starting at 14. Another came when he contacted songwriter Roger Springer, whom they visited in Nashville. That set in motion a chain of events that led to songwriting appointments with Springer, Mike Geiger and Tim Menzies, among many other great Music Row writers, and a meeting with Joe Carter and Mike Taliaferro, who became supporters and then his official management team.
William Michael spent his late teen years learning his craft, writing and performing, and by the time he earned both a publishing deal and a label contract with Warner Bros. Nashville, he was the complete package.
His producer Scott Hendricks, who has throughout his years in the industry amassed an incredible 65 No. 1 singles, called the first time he heard William Michael’s voice coming through studio speakers “a jaw-dropping experience,” deeming the breakout artist “one of the very best singers [he has] ever recorded.” Pandora said, "His voice resonates with the flawless timbre of someone who has been singing country music for decades beyond his years.”
William Michael says that Hendricks and co-producer Jimmy Ritchey "saw the vision right away and have been working to capture it,” adding, “I'm 23 and always growing and learning, but I'll always keep my traditional roots and this is a team that makes sure this record is really me."
An old soul in a young man's body, William Michael is the tradition-tinged future in a tall, lean package. His aim is simple--"Happy or sad, I try to put the most heart into it that I can"--and with Vinyl, he has brought a lifetime of music-making to bear on a project destined to serve his fans and country music alike well.