You may have heard the term "coming of age" used in regard to many situations, a young person maturing, a basketball team that gets a winning streak going, a company that starts successfully marketing their product or service.
Rarely do you hear this term when applied to a music festival, but that would be the case for Moondance Jam at the 23rd annual Minnesota Music Academy's Awards Banquet held at O'Gara's Garage in St. Paul Sept. 24
Moondance Jam was recognized as the "largest outdoor rock fest in Minnesota."
The Minnesota Music Academy asked Bill and Kathy Bieloh of Walker, the owners of Moondance Jam, to be presenters at the award ceremony. The awards are given to top musicians throughout the state of Minnesota in 56 categories ranging from Best New Group (The Working Stiffs), Best Bluegrass Recording (Monroe Crossing), Lifetime Achievement Award (The Suburbs) to Best Horn Player (Steve Clarke) and Best Keyboardist/Pianist (Jeff Victor, who is also the Twins organist).
Luminaries from different walks of life were there to present the various awards. Included in the group was St. Paul Mayor Randy Kelly, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, disc jockeys John Hines and Bob Berglund (who had not appeared together in public for the past 13 years). Presenters came up in pairs to read the candidates and winners in each category.
Appearing with Bill Bieloh was none other than Viking mascot Ragnar. Ragnar, in a backstage conversation with Bieloh, said he was putting together a pilot for a children's show featuring himself. Ragnar and Bieloh were the presenters for Best Bassist, Best Horn Player and Best Drummer/Percussionist. Before any of these awards were read, Bieloh addressed the musicians in the audience and said, "I hope I see many of you at Moondance next year."
As the evening wound down, many musicians and audience members greeted Bieloh, wife Kathy and producers Jack and Rachel Thibault of T.E.A. Productions for putting on such a great event.