Although a few scattered showers made some of the concertgoers scatter for shelter themselves, overall the weather was sunny and seasonable as the 2007 Moondance Jam, “Sweet 16,” opened at the Moondance Jam concert grounds near Walker.
Wednesday’s lineup was expected to draw big crowds and festival organizers were not disappointed. By the time the heavy-metal band Jackyl — known for its use of a chain saw as part of its show — took the stage at 4:30 p.m., the concert grounds were filling up quickly.
More than 20,000 were expected to see Loverboy, Tesla and Def Leppard Wednesday.
New on the concert grounds is the addition of the Moondance Lazy Moon Backstage Bar, located immediately behind the main stage. Owner and promoter Bill Bieloh said part of the structure was taken from the main lodge of Moondance Ranch, which used to be located on state Highway 371, just south of state Highway 200.
Approximately half of the ticket holders will camp, Bieloh said.
Jerry Snow, a Moondance camper and a member of the local band El Diablo, said he comes for the people as much as anything.
“There’s a lot of good music and that’s great,” said Snow. “But I really come for the great people you meet … and the camping. You really have to camp to take in the whole Moondance Jam experience.”
Amy Tell of Rochester, Minn., agreed it’s a total attitude that people have at the jam.
“It’s definitely the people,” she said. “Everybody is just here to have a good time and everybody is just plain good to one another here.”
Cindy Baumann of Brainerd said it’s the highlight of her summer.
“It’s just four days where you unwind and enjoy yourself,” she said. “The music is good but it’s really the whole event that you experience.”
Another jammer, Ken Booth from Dilworth, Minn., said he has been to the jam seven of the last eight years. He said he returns each year for the music, the party, the camping and the women.
“It’s great,” he said. “I have everything I need right here to have a great time. And it’s my kind of music, too.”
Today’s lineup on the main stage opens with the Twin Cities band Balladivia at 3:p.m., followed by Kansas at 4:30 p.m., Big Head Todd and the Monsters at 7 p.m., Cheap Trick at 9 p.m. and REO Speedwagon at 11 p.m.