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WE Fest opens with a bang

Eric Church promised the WE Fest crowd that he was going to "burn this place down tonight" during his main stage performance Thursday night in Detroit Lakes, Minn. Brian Basham/DL Newspapers

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. – WE Fest is a whole lot of country and a whole lot of rock ’n roll.

That was the case Thursday night as the three-day festival opened with a bang.

After an explosive show in 2012, Eric Church returned for his first headlining set. He showed he was worth the prime slot.

The singer/guitarist opened with a heavy version of “Creepin,” and a light and fog show to rival most hard rock bands.

Church just started as this story went to press.

If Church calls to mind hard rock, Big & Rich is classic rock. The duo ripped through a set so deep in covers it seemed like they were showcasing their record collection.

The decibel-blaring duo got the 40,000-plus fans on their feet with “Comin’ to Your City” and “Loud.”

The partying pair covered AC/DC and Tom Petty and wove MC Hammer, The Fine Young Cannibals, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Madonna, Chumbawumba, Don Maclean and Sir Mixalot before roaring through their signature, “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy.”

Their set ended with Rich lighting a guitar on fire, then smashing it on the stage.

Katie Armiger added a feminine touch to the stage, but was ready to play with the big boys, singing, “Confessions of a Nice Girl,” confessing in the chorus, “I ain’t so sweet anymore.”

Walker Hayes followed, noting that he was still recovering from his set at Wednesday’s pre-party on the new Titan Machinery Barn Stage.

Even before the music started, WE Fest fans had another reason to party. Earlier in the day, promoters announced The Band Perry, Florida Georgia Line and Brantley Gilbert were added to the 2014 lineup. They’ll play with the already announced headliners, Jason Aldean, Brad Paisley and the Zac Brown Band.

Festival Chief Marketing Director John Gourley said the added acts will bolster what is already record-setting sales for 2014.

If you go

What: WE Fest

When: Today and Saturday

Where: So Pass Ranch, Detroit Lakes, Minn.

Info: General admission single-day tickets are still available for $92.63. Go to or call (800) 493-3378.



  • 2:45 p.m. – The Jason Paulson Band
  • 4:15 p.m. – Dustin Lynch
  • 6:15 p.m. – Little Big Town
  • 8:30 p.m. – Gary Allan
  • 10:45 p.m. – Keith Urban
  • 12:30 a.m. – Dustin Lynch (Barn Stage)


  • 2:45 p.m. – Hitchville
  • 4:15 p.m. – Kellie Pickler
  • 6:15 p.m. – Kenny Rogers
  • 8:30 p.m. – Darius Rucker
  • 10:45 p.m. – Carrie Underwood
  • 12:30 a.m. – Hitchville (Barn Stage)

John Lamb | Forum News Service

Forum News Service

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