A rockin’ good time: Live, free music returns to Stutsman County FairFor 27 years, live music has been has been a staple at the Stutsman County Fair. For the majority of those years one band keeps coming back — the Johnny Holm Band.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
For 27 years, live music has been has been a staple at the Stutsman County Fair. For the majority of those years one band keeps coming back — the Johnny Holm Band.
There’s no stopping Johnny Holm from returning to the fair next week.
“Johnny is the consummate showman. He’s got a gift for gab and he likes intermingling with the audience and he will get a handful of people to sing with him and dance with him,” said Alan Lindberg, Stutsman County Fair Board president. “… He’s got to be a staple for our fair. We don’t know what we’d do without him.”
Since live, free music came to North Dakota’s largest county fair, Holm and his band have been here except for one or two years.
“He likes coming here as much as we like having him,” Lindberg said.
Holm’s music changes with the years, as the Minneapolis-based group has performed all over the Midwest for decades.
From hip hop to country to rock, Holm and his band cover most of the bases while getting the audience involved.
The other three shows start around 9 p.m. but the Johnny Holm Band will start closer to 8 p.m. Thursday, July 12, in the beer garden at the Stutsman County Fairgrounds.
All four nights of shows are free with paid admission to the fair. Which is $5 for adults and $2 for children. All shows are also for all ages as adults can watch from the beer garden, children teenagers have their own fenced off area and tables will be setup for families.
Holm always plays Thursday night. But Lindberg said high-octane music is on tap throughout the fair. That starts Wednesday with $timulu$ Package.
“I’m pretty excited about them,” Lindberg said. “They’re one of the hot bands in the Twin Cities and I think this is their first time in North Dakota,” he said.
Lindberg said he was impressed with their song list, which includes everything from modern country hits to Three Dog Night and Wilson Pickett.
“They’re a fun dance party band with outstanding female vocals,” he said.
On Friday night the stage belongs to the Michael D Band, from Lexington, Ky. It’s music is a fusion of country and rock. The Michael D Band has played for Professional Bull Riders shows and gigs from Florida to Oregon.
Lindberg had the band here last year as the second part of a Garth Brooks tribute concert.
“The band was just knock-your-socks-off outstanding and we decided to bring them back because they were so good last year,” he said. “They’re just a great dance band and they appeal to everybody.”
8foot4 returns to close the fair out on Saturday night and lead singer Christopher Seebeck said he’s excited.
“The biggest compliment we get is people get tired early at our shows, because they’re out there mixing it up and moving around. So that’s a really good compliment for us,” Seebeck said.
The biggest thing this year is that 8foot4 added some new songs. Seebeck also likes playing the fair because it’s an all ages’ venue.
“We get to play the older, classic rock that the older people enjoy. We get to play a lot of the ’90s alternative stuff that late ’20s to early ’30s like, and we get to play a lot of the new stuff young people enjoy,” he said.
Lindberg said that’s one draw that bands enjoy is the all age’s venue the fairgrounds offer.
“We needed to do something to bring the teens in, appeal to the young adults and the old adults,” Lindberg said. “You kind of have to walk that line of being able to appeal to everybody.”
There’s probably a generation out there that doesn’t remember not having live music at the fair, but Lindberg said prior to 1985 that was a reality.
“It’s an important part of the fair to have a good time to stick around and enjoy some music,” he said.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org