Moondance Jam 2015 was epic. I had never been before so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I have heard many horror stories about WeFest being full of drugs, alcohol and sexual abuse, and I hoped that Moondance Jam would not be the same. To my relief, Moondance Jam was nothing of the sort.
My friend and I arrived to the grounds of Moondance Wednesday evening and met with her husband and some other friends. We did have a few drinks, but nothing crazy. Hairball was playing Wednesday night and it was with great anticipation that I walked down to the concert area for their show. I have heard so many wonderful things about Hairball that I knew I had to see them perform. They were fantastic. Hairball really puts on a good show, entertaining not only with their songs, but with their stage presence as well.
Thursday morning and afternoon was spent relaxing by our campsite and people-watching. The concert-goers sure are entertaining. Several dress in costumes and there is a sense of revelry in the air.
I was very much looking forward to seeing Black Stone Cherry, Papa Roach and Sammy Hagar play. But the weather had other ideas. As Black Stone Cherry was just getting started, playing three or four songs, the sky opened up and a downpour began. It rained. And thundered. And rained some more. The band finally had to stop playing after five songs and people ran for shelter. The nearby Saloon Stage and bar became exceedingly crowded, but everyone was very friendly and accommodating. Them Pesky Kids took the stage in the Saloon and entertained everyone for about two hours while we waited out the storm. Unfortunately, the storm showed no signs of stopping and Papa Roach had to cancel their show. It looked glum for fans anticipating a Sammy Hagar show. But the Red Rocker insisted on playing and he took the stage in the Saloon and rocked out for the crowd. It wasn't what Moondance Jammers expected, but it was, in my opinion, even better. Never before (and probably never again) have I been that close to Sammy Hagar. The party atmosphere was in high gear; Hagar shared some drinks with the fans up front. He almost made me forget that it was pouring outside.
After Hagar's surprise performance, Tripwire took the stage. They were easily my favorite band of the weekend. The Fargo-based group played covers in a variety of genres, from country and Irish jigs to oldies and rock. They were hilarious and they came across as very down-to-earth, really nice guys. They visited with my friends and I before they performed and I was able to get a picture with them.
The shows Friday and Saturday were equally enjoyable. Huey Lewis and the News were awesome and highly entertaining. Finger Eleven and Shinedown put on amazing shows.
In addition to the great concerts, Billy B's held a beer pong tournament. There were several two-person teams competing in a variety of costumes. There was also a free beer and wine tasting event on Friday afternoon.
The food at Moondance was delectable. The variety was wonderful. There were tacos, burritos, pizza, hotdogs and corn dogs, cheese curds, gyros, walleye, burgers, ice cream and, my personal favorite, soba noodles with stir fried vegetables and teriyaki chicken. I ate those three nights in a row.
When it was time to pack up and go Sunday morning, I wasn't ready. The event was so much fun. Everyone was so nice. Everyday, while I was walking around, complete strangers would stop and chat with me, take selfies and give a hug or two before moving on. The coordinators of the event, as well as all the hard workers helping out, really did a fantastic job of keeping things running smoothly and rolling with the punches, aka bad weather, adjusting the schedule and venues accordingly. They do not get enough praise and remain in the background, but they deserve much applause.
My first Moondance Jam is over, but it won't be my last. I came, I saw, I had fun and yes, I got the t-shirt.