Building off of the momentum of last summer’s excellent Local H, Helmet, and Filter concert, the Olmsted County Free Fair is offering up a buffet of musical entertainment all weekend long, both in its beer garden and in front of its grandstand. First, the headliners.
On Friday night, country band Lost Highway will play the grandstand, supported by opening acts New Black 7 and local radical country band JT & The Gunslingers. The show starts at 7 p.m. and tickets are $10. If the audience make-up comes close to resembling the talent displayed in the band’s video for its single, “Tubin’,” which you can check out at the band’s website, www.losthighwaymn.com, we’re all in for a good time.
On Saturday night, Rochester’s electronic music party, Feel the Drop, will take over for an all-ages dance party complete with black-lights, remixed top 40 hits, and a bubble-walk. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door, but losing your inhibitions to house music at an outdoor venue in Rochester might just be priceless.
If you’re looking for entertainment on a more intimate scale while pounding funnel cakes, the fair’s beer garden is where you’ll want to go. The full schedule of artists is available at the fair’s www.website,olmstedcountyfair.com/BeerGarden.html, but I’ve listed some highlights below.
Of course, anywhere there is live music, there’s a chance that John Sievers and his fellow jazz-heads will be there, and this year’s fair is no exception. The D’Sievers (facebook.com/thedsievers) will play on Thursday from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. with Eric Straubmuller on keys, Steve Sawyer on bass, and Sievers on trombone.
Ahead of his band’s set at Kathy’s Pub on Friday night, lead singer of Push & Turn, Sothea Lam, will play an acoustic set on Thursday at 4 p.m., while local country outlaws JT & The Gunslingers will play from 8 p.m. until close.
On Saturday night, rock music takes over as Rochester rockers 9th Planet Out play from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m., when they’re relieved by Cannon Falls-based pop-punkers Fire at the Falls, whose catchy, distortion-laden tunes will go from 9 p.m. to close.
Outside the fair, polka enthusiasts will be faced with a tough choice on Friday night. The Hoopla Train with Yard Master Yip & his Polkastra, a Vaudeville-style music and comedy act, will play the Blue Moon Ballroom in Rochester from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Friday night. The act’s website, www.raysandsandthepolkadots.com, claims that the event is like a cross between Hee Haw and The Lawrence Welk Show that flips between live music, sketch comedy, and amazing feats of human ability. It’s been touring historic Minnesota ballrooms all month.
If you’d prefer an evening augmented by accordion music and accordion music only, then head out to Zumbrota, where Crossings at Carnegie will host Accordion-O-Rama starting at 8 p.m. The event will feature three acts: Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton (www.daddysqueeze.com), Mark Stillman (www.markstillman.com), and Bob Barnes of Mandrágora Tango (www.mandragoratango.com). Tickets are $18-$20 and are available at the Crossings website, www.crossingsatcarnegie.com.
Elsewhere on Friday night, The Danielle Nicole Band will bring its bluesy roots music to Whiskey Bones Roadhouse starting at 8 p.m. Nicole, a founding member and bassist of blues-rock act Trampled Under Foot, embarked on her solo career years ago and has been creating forward-thinking music ever since. You can stream some of it on her website, www.daniellenicolekc.com.
If you’re looking to brush up on local singer/songwriter Jason Mckenzie before his Thursdays on First & Third set next week, you’ll get your chance on Saturday night, when he plays a set at Broadway Bar & Pizza on Saturday night from 8 p.m to 11 p.m. You can get a feel for Mckenzie’s heartfelt, carefully crafted music on his website, www.jasonmckenziemusic.com.
• Hair of the Dog plays Kathy’s Pub on Thursday from 8:30 p.m. to 11:59 p.m.
• Local positivity-pushing, funky-reggae-party starters Push & Turn play Kathy’s Pub on Friday night starting at around 10 p.m.
• Sisters & Company will play the American Legion Post 92 from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Friday evening.
• Just Because Feet, who I couldn’t find any info about online, will play from 7 p.m. to midnight at the Redwood Room on both Friday and Saturday nights.
• Booker and Friends will be playing in the Kinney Creek Taproom on Saturday from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.
• Galactic Cowboy Orchestra’s strange melange of bluegrass and jazz will fill the Peace Plaza on Monday starting at 12:10 p.m.