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Music on the Mountain: Big & Rich headliners in sell-out event July 7

Big & Rich are loved by fans for their energetic and interactive live performances. Opening for them at Music on the Mountain will be Matt Aakre, the former frontman of the popular Moorhead-based country-rock band 32 Below. He'll be bringing his former bandmates back together for the opener, and they’ll also play inside the lodge for an afterparty following the performance. Promotional photo1 / 2
Big & Rich (“Big” is actually Big Kenny, and “Rich” is John Rich) will be performing with Cowboy Troy at Detroit Mountain on Saturday, July 7 for the annual Music on the Mountain fundraiser. Big & Rich are well known for their country hits, including "Save A Horse (Ride A Cowboy)." Promotional photo2 / 2

This year's Music on the Mountain fundraiser is Detroit Mountain Recreation Area's first sold-out event.

Featuring the hit-making country music duo Big & Rich — of "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)" fame — this year's Music on the Mountain sold all 2,500 available tickets by this Monday morning, according to Jeff Staley, general manager at Detroit Mountain.

Big & Rich will perform outdoors at the foot of the mountain this Saturday, July 7, starting at 8 p.m.

Matt Aakre, the former frontman of the popular Moorhead-based country-rock band 32 Below, will be bringing his former bandmates back together to open for Big & Rich at 6:30 p.m., and they'll also play inside the lodge for an afterparty following the show.

Due to the large number of people, a free 'park-and-ride' shuttle service will be available to cart concertgoers to and from the grounds on Saturday. Two busses will be running from the M State parking lot to the main entrance of the lodge at Detroit Mountain every 15 minutes between 5:30 and 8:30 p.m., and one will bring people back to M State between 8:30 p.m. and 12:30 a.m.

There's limited parking at Detroit Mountain, Staley said, and only vehicles with ticketed passengers will be allowed on site the evening of the show. Those who do park on site should be prepared to walk up to a quarter-mile to get to the stage area.

Due to this limited parking, along with expected high traffic, event set up and security needs, recreational use of Detroit Mountain (including all trails) will end at 3 p.m. on Saturday, and no lift service will be available that day.

The Big & Rich concert will be Detroit Mountain's third major Music on the Mountain event; Sawyer Brown performed last year, and the year before that it was Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

"Now this year, we just keep stepping it up a notch," said Megan Smith, guest services manager at Detroit Mountain. "We're going big with Big & Rich."

They reached out to a number of possible bands, Staley said, ultimately deciding on Big & Rich because of their reputation as crazy crowd-pleasers on stage.

"We thought they would bring some good energy for this event," he said.

Besides that everybody-knows-it "Save a Horse" hit, Big & Rich have had other Top 40 chart-toppers like "Lost in this Moment," "Look At You," "Holy Water," "That's Why I Pray" and more.

"Big" is Big Kenny, and "Rich" is John Rich, both of whom are songwriters, singers and guitarists. They'll be performing at the mountain with Cowboy Troy, a country rapper who has charted twice on the Billboard country singles charts.

"Big & Rich have played at WE Fest in the past, so local country fans will be very familiar with them and the kind of show they put on — really upbeat, interactive, and getting the crowd involved," said Staley.

There will be four different food trucks coming to serve hungry concertgoers: Potato Brothers, which sells all sorts of different potato-based foods; Pico, a made-from-scratch taco joint; The Dog Father, which specializes in Chicago-style hotdogs; and Twisted Spork Mobile Food, a hand-tossed pizza and build-your-own burger stand with some healthy salad and gluten-free options. Beer, wine and liquor will be sold throughout the event.

"We're excited," said Smith. "We're ready."

"It should be a really fun night," added Staley.

The outdoor concerts will go on rain or shine. The afterparty will take place indoors, in the lodge.

Music on the Mountain is Detroit Mountain's biggest fundraiser of the year, with proceeds going toward projects not covered by the mountain's regular operating budget.

Marie Johnson

Marie Johnson joined the Detroit Lakes Tribune as a reporter and magazine editor in November 2017 after several years of writing and editing at the Perham Focus. She lives in Detroit Lakes with her husband, Dan, their 4-year-old son and toddler daughter, and their yellow Lab.

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