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Bang your head! Bash on the Beach is going heavy metal

The Northwest Water Carnival's annual Bash on the Beach typically draws crowds of anywhere between a thousand and two thousand people — and with the expansion to two nights this year, it's sure to be bigger than ever. (Tribune file photo)

Though water and beach-themed events fill up the majority of the Northwest Water Carnival's 10-day schedule, music is also a major part of the festivities — confirmed by the massive crowd draw Bash on the Beach brings each year, which is larger than any other event at the summer festival.

With legendary headliners like Sawyer Brown, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Blackhawk and John Michael Montgomery, the event's attendance has usually averaged anywhere between 800 to 2,100 — and this year, with a switch from country to rock music, and expanding from one night to two, it promises to be bigger (and louder) than ever.

Five bands will perform during the two-night event, which takes place this coming Friday and Saturday, July 13 and 14. The popular '80s glam metal tribute band, Hairball, will perform on Friday with popular Fargo-area cover band The Jackson 3 as the opening act. On Saturday, the Metallica tribute band One will open the festivities, followed by Firehouse and Warrant.

"We already had the bands booked for Saturday (which was the Bash's regular spot on the NWC schedule) when Hairball contacted Amy Stearns at the Holmes Theatre about wanting to play here in Detroit Lakes this summer," explained Natalie Bly, who is co-chairing the 2018 Northwest Water Carnival along with Andy Castagneri.

"They've always wanted to play in the lakes area, but because they had a non-compete clause (as part of their contract) with the Red River Valley Fair, they couldn't play anywhere in this area within 90 days of the fair."

This year, however, the RRV Fair did not book them, so "that opened up their ability to schedule concerts with other towns (in the lakes area)," Bly said. "They fell into our laps, basically."

Thus, a second night of "Bash on the Beach" was added to the Water Carnival schedule.

The gates open at 8 p.m. on Friday night, with the Jackson 3 taking the stage at about 8:15 p.m. and Hairball following at 9 p.m.

The fun gets underway even earlier on Saturday, with the gates opening at 6:30 p.m. and One taking the stage at 7:45 p.m., followed by Firehouse at 9:15 p.m. and Warrant at 10:45 p.m.

Tickets are $20 for each individual night, or $35 for both nights. If you purchase the two-day option, you will get separate tickets for each night, Bly said, rather than a combined pass.

"It just made sense logistically to do it that way," she added.

Both concerts will be at the City Beach at the south end of the Pavilion, looking toward J&K Marine. The shows are for ages 21 and up, and alcohol will be served.

Co-admirals Castagneri and Bly are excited for the carnival's first two-day Bash — and to have multiple bands performing. The Admirals, who are both members of the local Jaycees, work hard to find the most entertaining, crowd-drawing musicians.

"We spend all year planning this event," Castagneri says. "Once this concert is over, we will start contacting bands immediately to perform at the 2019 Bash."

Castagneri said some boats and pontoons have parked along the City Beach shoreline as early as 6 a.m. on the morning of the Bash in past years, to get a good spot. Because of boater congestion and public safety concerns, the swimming buoys on the water adjacent to the city beach will be removed at 5 p.m. on Friday and not replaced until late Sunday afternoon.

Bly said they hope this will discourage anyone from swimming in the vicinity until the buoys have been replaced.

For more information about Bash on the Beach, go to Tickets are available in advance at the Chamber of Commerce or Central Market; they will also be sold at the door. There is no seating for either concert, as music-lovers are expected to stand for the proceedings — or, if they prefer, to get out on the sand and dance.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 18-plus years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Detroit Lakes School Board. 

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