Lakes Jam 2018 – Day 1

Lakes Jam 2018 – Day 1

By Kailee Thompson

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Cowboy hats, koozies, and country fans were all seen in abundance on the first day of Lakes Jam 2018.  If you’re looking for a pre-game to the state fair, the festival has your fix of cheese curds, funnel cakes and corn dogs, but also some local BBQ joints to satisfy any craving.  Feeling lucky? There are opportunities to purchase raffle tickets for meet and greet upgrades for all the headliners.  Feeling spontaneous?  Lakes Jam even has a tattoo booth where you can get inked on the spot! Already, Lakes Jam has brought in a crowd from far and wide. 


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Jake Nelson opened up the day and kicked off the festival with a band full of local Minnesotans.  He covered favorites by Chris Stapleton, Blake Shelton, Jon Pardi and more to get the crowd ready to dance and excited for good music.  Nelson’s voice would stop anyone in their tracks as he put new twists to classic songs and poured his heart into his music.  The crowd was loving the newcomer and I am sure it is not the last we will see of Jake Nelson. 


Tim Hurley was second to take the stage and was nothing short of all energy.  Singing songs about summertime and sunshine, Hurley later boasted about his “coastal country” vibe.  Being from California, he sings what he knows and that’s warm weather and sun rays beating down on your skin.  Hurley went on to explain in an interview that he was discovered singing karaoke at a bar that he didn’t even want to participate in.  His energy and vocals made it easy to believe his story that he went from singing in a bar on a machine to opening his first show for 10,000 people for John Michael Montgomery.  


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With the news of Lauren Alaina not being able to perform due to Laryngitis, Ashley McBryde is the only female singer this year and she did not disappoint.  Before her performance, she took to the interview stage and talked about her journey in country music.  While she may be new to us, Ashley was singing in bars and dives for nine years before she got her shot. Her funny, sassy charm caught the attention of everyone and a crowd gathered as she talked about her experience in the industry.  Ashley had the crowd bursting out in laughter after she announced a song that she sang at her high school reunion and the punchline stated, “you got fat and I got famous.” Her voice was powerful, personality lovable, and music relatable.


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As the sun was finally down and the weather cooled off, LOCASH brought back the heat with their performance.  The brothers threw in old country mixes, a country rendition of the Chainsmoker’s Close, and even a new song that had only been heard once before.  Everyone had their hands up all night and were moving their feet to every hit song LOCASH played.  They closed the night by playing Don’t Stop Believing and the crowd was singing just as loud as the boys on stage.  At that moment, everyone came together and the night ended with everyone in sync.


The party continued as everyone headed to their campsite still high off the energy from the day. Even in the campgrounds, music was blasting and lights were shining in all directions.  The first day of Lakes Jam brought the energy and was not one to be missed.  With the weekend just getting started, Thursday set the tone for another crazy, country music-filled day to follow.