New and improved BradFest this weekendBradFest outgrew its former venue and will be moving to the Lake County Fairgrounds for its third year.
By: LaReesa Sandretsky, Lake County News Chronicle
BradFest outgrew its former venue and will be moving to the Lake County Fairgrounds for its third year.
The festival has more than doubled its musical offerings and booked a national act as its headliner— the band Cracker, most famous for its song “Low.” Other entertainers include Duluth blues/rock band the Black Eyed Snakes, MC Kosha Dillz of Los Angeles who raps in English, Hebrew and Spanish and Sick of Sarah, a Minneapolis-based all-girl punk band.
“We’re really happy about the bands we got,” said artistic director Troy Roger.
Big names aren’t the only news. Local musician and recent Two Harbors High School graduate Justin Bohrer will share the stage with the national acts. He received a Friends of Brad scholarship to be used when he attends Minnesota State University-Moorhead to study guitar performance and audio production.
Bohrer has been a guitarist for seven years and has been performing on stage since middle school. The self-taught musician participated in the THHS Jazz Band, the Northland Youth Music Program summer camp, open mic performances and the Mayor’s Block Party.
“One thing that helped prepared me the most…I learned [to play guitar] on my own. [That was] probably the best way to start,” Bohrer said. He’ll perform on Saturday at BradFest.
With acts representing a wide range of genres, BradFest can say it offers something for everyone. Metal, punk, hip-hop and reggae are all represented in the line-up.
In addition to music, BradFest will also feature belly dancers, fire dancers, a play area for kids, a pie fight, a mud pit, a silent auction, laughing yoga, and food and drink by local vendors and breweries.
“You don’t know exactly what is going to happen but there are lots of surprises in store,” Roger said. “Brad had a great sense of humor and we try to honor that in every way we can.”
The festival started after the unexpected death of local musician Brad Rozman. His friends wanted to do something to memorialize him. A foundation to benefit local musicians and a festival to celebrate Rozman’s life and raise money seemed to be an obvious choice.
“When we started I don’t think we realized the kind of response we’d get,” Roger said.
Word-of-mouth has been their most successful advertising. After two years at the Earthwood Inn, they knew they needed more space, Roger said.
Rozman was an Iron Range native with a graduate degree in percussion performance. He lived in Duluth and played live shows around the area before the seizure that caused his death in 2009. Roger was a friend of Rozman.
BradFest raises money for Friends of Brad, a nonprofit that supports young musicians in Minnesota. In past years, the funds have gone to scholarships for local kids heading to music schools, to purchase better equipment for high school bands and music programs in the region. They’ve also started a fellowship to be awarded to young , struggling professional musicians— like Rozman was before his death.
“We’re really hoping that people in the area will check it out,” Roger said.
Tickets, the complete band list and more information are all available at www.bradfest.org. The festival runs Friday, Aug. 3 – Sunday, Aug. 5 and tickets are $35 for a day pass, $50 for the weekend and $75 with camping for the weekend.