'You 'otter' be there': Ottertail's first-ever OtterJam
The city of Ottertail is getting a rockin' new summer event.
The first-ever OtterJam, a day-long music festival featuring local and national country and rock bands, is coming to town on Saturday, June 7.
On the lineup are Minnesota celebrity Jeremiah James Korfe — of "Sweet Home Alabama" fame — a Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band called Freebird, and the award-winning group country-rock group, The Kentucky Headhunters.
That's on the main stage. On a smaller side stage, young local groups like Perham's Border Patrol will play.
The intent is that, from the time the gates open at 2 p.m. until the last guitar strum at 10:30 p.m., there will be unending, 'wall-to-wall' sound at the concert grounds — although that expression doesn't quite fit, since there won't be any walls at OtterJam's large outdoor venue.
The show will take place at the site of the former Smokin' Iron competition, near the water tower at the center of town. Overnight camping will be available at the site.
The whole thing is the brainchild of Jerry Kern and his business partner, Joe Rice, who own and operate Hay Creek Entertainment. The company works on behalf of artists and venues to plan events in the Perham, Wadena, Ottertail and surrounding area.
Kern, a Verndale native, has a surprisingly eclectic resume.
In an interview with the Focus last week, he revealed that he's played bass guitar with the Country Bullet Band, War Pony and other groups, which has led him to tour around and connect with hundreds of other musicians.
He's also appeared as a guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (for a novelty trick he's made YouTube videos of — he rips the lid off a beer can with his teeth, then drinks it). That led to a stint as a production assistant for the show, as well as a mention on Tosh.O's website.
Later, Kern worked as a production assistant for a show on Animal Planet called "Off the Hook." He's also worked with St. Croix Casino in Wisconsin, helping to coordinate major entertainment events like Travis Tritt and Brett Michaels concerts.
Meanwhile, his day job is something totally different — he runs Git-R-Dug, a residential and agricultural drainage system business based in Mahnomen, Minn.