Minnesota bands a big part of this year's mix at 10KLF
If there was one trend amongst bands at the 10,000 Lakes Festival this year, it was the number of them with roots in Minnesota.
From well-knowns like Mason Jennings, Atmosphere and Trampled By Turtles, to lesser-knowns like Nathan Miller, booking agent Randy Levy said it was all intentional.
"That was very deliberate ... We like the local bands," he said.
Nathan Miller and Unstoppable Company, a small outfit from Minneapolis, played at the VitaminWater Saloon Stage on Wednesday night to a crowd of close to 100 that grew throughout the set.
Miller, who specializes in a sliding lap guitar, said they've been in Minneapolis for about 10 years, but have been on a hiatus from live performances while thy finish up a new album, planned to be out "sometime fall-ish."
"We could really push it, but we want to make it count," he said. "It's been about three years since we've had a new album."
The group produced a free special album goody bag just for 10KLF, wrapped in brown paper bags and hand-stamped with the band's initials. Miller said he's happy to be part of the growing Minneapolis music scene, a relatively small scene with a sense of community -- one that's "inspiring" when friends like Atmosphere do so well.
"I think we're starting to craft a Minneapolis sound again," he said. "In Prince's era, it almost had a Minnesota sound, and we lost it a little. I think now we're coming back into our own sound."
Playing in the Blue Ox campground on Wednesday night was ComoSapiens, a University of Minnesota area band whose posters are frequently seen on light poles and bus terminals by students.
Thursday was something of a Minnesota-day, starting off with Gypsy Lumberjacks at noon and continuing with evening main stage acts the Honeydogs (where, at one point, a roadie sat off to the side of the stage and ate an avocado) and Mason Jennings.
After Wilco's main stage act, Atmosphere was the late-night entertainment.
A few bands are back to touring since they're releasing new albums soon -- the Honeydogs will be releasing "Sunshine Committee," and Jennings said his new "Blood of Man" will be out on Sept. 15.
During his set, played to a few hundred folks, Jennings alluded to the fact that it was his first time back home in a while. "It's taken me this long, but I love it," he said.
Throughout the rest of the weekend the festival featured more Minnesotans, including a Friday afternoon set by Cloud Cult, and Duluth-based bluegrass group Trampled By Turtles.