WE Fest

I spent last week in Detroit Lakes, MN for a Country Music festival called WE Fest. It's been going on since 1983 and my friends, Big Jim and Mary Ann, have gone every year and my Bestie, Jim, has been to all but one. At some point last year, I said "I'm in!"

What a fun event! Very well organized. Lots of music with a mixture of up and coming artists, established ones and a few rockers.

We had VIP seats which included "free" beer. All those Minnesotans were complaining about which beer it was but I was quite pleased. What do those ice fishers know?

You could also get Summer Shandy and Mike's Hard Lemonades.

Following are my impressions on each act. Jim and I saw all of them, missing a few opening songs for some (long beer lines) and about 20 minutes for one act because we were at a Meet and Greet. We were in the 38th row so my pics were all crap because I only had my phone. Lesson learned - take the camera.

THURSDAY

Amanda Watkins

The only female led act of the event. That face makes me sad. She had a wonderful voice and a nice stage presence. And the biggest earrings I saw all weekend.

LoCash

These guys have a top 40 Country song (I Know Somebody) and I had downloaded their album LoCash Cowboys so I knew what to expect. I would call them Southern Rock. Very fun, very energetic. I quite enjoyed their show.

Joe Nichols

I mean, it's Joe Freakin' Nichols, what would you expect? A solid show of very popular songs. Well, popular a few years ago. But, we knew them all and sang along and he was very personable. And, handsome. Did not in any way disappoint.

Lee Brice

Holy heck, that is one big dude! Of everyone we saw, his 6'3" frame was the easiest to see from our seats. Another guy with a deep library of top hits, Brice did a great job on his show. Entertaining and personable. The personable thing is a recurring thing. I don't think there was anyone who looked like they weren't grateful and happy to be there. That was pretty cool.

Eric Church

Wowzers! What a high energy show! This was the best of the first night and it was worthy of being the headliner. Lots of great songs with everyone singing along. It was just super fun.

FRIDAY

William Michael Morgan

One of our favorite shows. He has a top 40 in I Met A Girl and he has a "real" country vibe complete with a George Straight like hat. I really like his song, Cheap Cologne, which I heard from downloading his EP. Wonderful voice, great on stage presence. If you get a chance to go see him, do it.

Granger Smith

Once we got past thinking he looked like Tom Cruise (those teeth!), we really enjoyed this show. He also has a current hit, If The Boot Fits, which I'm hearing a lot on my local station. Very enthusiastic though his skinny jeans riding up above his boots was not a good look. ;)

If you're wearing boots, you should wear boot cut jeans. Just sayin'.

Montgomery Gentry

The only act where I could sing along, correctly, to every song. These guys have a solid history of hits and they were fun and high energy as well. Their jeans weren't distracting but Eddie Montgomery's whiter than anything in nature teeth where. They literally glowed from the stage.

This picture doesn't do it justice. Grr. Those are some white choppers!

Billy Currington

I spent most of this show building a dream world where Billy and I are together. We're both fantastically happy in case you were wondering. So, yeah, good show, I think. He sure looked good.

Kid Rock

Yeah, he's kind of country. He was also hugely popular at the event and many peoples's favorite act. I thought he was a great entertainer and very talented. And, he had women in his band! But, I couldn't get past the incessant F bombs. Which, if you know me, seems quite hypocritical as I swear all the time. But, it just was too much for me for a public event. We tried to buy some of his shirts but chose not to because they all had the F word on them. I would never wear one in public because I think it's inappropriate.

SATURDAY

High Valley

Holy harmonies! I was immediately blown away and not too surprised when the two leads introduced themselves as brothers because their voices were so fantastic together. Definitely one of my favorites and one of the acts that seemed especially grateful to be at the event. Keep an eye on this band, they're going to go places. Or, they should, at least.

Halfway To Hazard

I had downloaded one of their CDs ahead of time so I was familiar with some of the tunes. Southern Rock sounding and quite enjoyable. Tim McGraw has worked with them (yes, they name dropped and then so did he about them). Their set was good.

Gary Allan

Another act that I could sing along to. He did a rocking show with many of his best known hits. He also looked pretty fine. I heard some girls (like 20 somethings) talking about their Meet and Greet with him and they said "He looked really good for an older guy." They also said he was very nice which is what I expect about Country musicians and, when they're not, I'm horribly disappointed.

Steven Tyler

Yeah, that Steven Tyler. What a brilliant show! My favorite of them all. He started out with Aerosmith songs then dropped a few off his new country album in between. Very smart. And, hey women in the band! Women featured in the band! Everyone on stage looked like they were having a blast. He did drop one F bomb but then said "Oh, there's a swear rule" (or something like that) then didn't use that word again. I just loved everything about him and his set.

Tim McGraw

Well, what can you say about one of the most popular Country artists of the past 20+ years? His show was polished, fun and he was hotter than hell up there. Maybe literally but visually for sure. He may have gotten a little too thin for my taste but, damn, he still looked good and moved around like a youngster. And, those arms. Oh. My. Gawd.

From Steven Tyler's Instagram.
Those. Arms. 

My only disappointment was the lack of female representation at the event. I know they've had lots of women headliners in the past but not even seeing many female musicians this year made me wonder if it was just a coincidence or indicative of the general music industry or maybe Country music. I'll have to research that.

Oh, and the one thing that absolutely didn't disappoint was meeting Steven Tyler. Stay tuned.

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