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Minnesota bands a big part of this year's mix at 10KLF

Mason Jennings performed on the 10,000 Lakes Festival's main stage Thursday night. (Brian Basham/DL Newspapers)1 / 2
Wilco's Jeff Tweedy waves to the 10,000 Lakes Festival crowd during a song on the main stage Thursday night. The group was one of three headline acts scheduled for the weekend music fest, which concluded Saturday night with a performance by the Dave Matthews Band. (Brian Basham/DL Newspapers)2 / 2

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.