Menahga music festival gains approval for July event

With many restrictions lifting, July rock concert event may be a major attraction to Menahga area.

The Mid Summer Music Fest is located east of Menahga off Hwy 31. Image courtesy Mid Summer Music Fest

After the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions put a stop to most large group gatherings last year, the Mid Summer Music Fest in Menahga is looking to go big this summer.

Wadena County Commissioners heard for informational purposes that the event had submitted necessary paperwork to be held in the county. While it meets the county requirements it may have further state of Minnesota restrictions when the event takes place July 1-3. At this time, most COVID-19 restrictions are to be removed by the end of May.

The Wadena County Sheriff’s Office has visited the site to review the plan for the event. Wadena County Coordinator Ryan Odden said organizer Trinity Junes has a medical plan in place with Tri-County Health Care. Junes’ application outlined the estimated amount of people for attendance to be between 1,000-3,500 attendees per day. Odden, Public Health and the Sheriff’s Department have looked at the application and feel that the event details are meeting all of the requirements for the ordinance.

Commissioner Jon Kangas said he was against stopping people from doing what they want on their property as long as it is not too detrimental to neighboring properties. He suggested that the county could place no parking signs along County Road 31 at the site of the event to help keep the roadway open.

Kangas also mentioned that he has heard concerns about the process surrounding the large gathering ordinance. He asked why there was not a conditional-use process in place. The question received no answer.


One member of the public, Todd Yackley, was on the call with concerns about the event. He wanted to make sure that all stipulations were being followed. Commission chairman Sheldon Monson responded that since the event has been approved for the license, it is following the application requirements.

Yackley also asked if there would be fireworks associated with the event. Odden said that pyrotechnics have not been listed as part of the event but such an action would require approval.

The Mid Summer Music Fest plans to have mostly rock concerts each night of the event with the last shows starting at 10:30 p.m.

There is camping and parking on site. Construction of the event infrastructure is taking place according to the event Facebook page. Find out more information at

Lift purchase

Right now the county does not have a lift system for lifting vehicles and semi trucks for repairs. The board reviewed a mobile truck lift system. Odden asked to buy the lifts for a price of $46,965.11 from Midwest Lift, out of Jordan, Minn. As a mobile lift, it can be configured to lift any of the county’s vehicles.

A series of truck lifts like these will soon help Wadena County with their maintenance needs. Image courtesy Wadena County

The purchase would be made out of MCIT Dividends Fund. These dividends are paid back to the counties after the county pays in for insurance. These funds should not be used for regular budgeted items as dividends are not guaranteed.


The county has 11 tandem trucks, three semi tractors, and several pickups. The county does not have any lift currently. County maintenance foreman Jason Miller said they try to do all the maintenance inhouse.

Commissioner Murlyn Kreklau asked just what maintenance they will perform. Odden said their mechanic is capable of most maintenance. Odden said in the summertime, the county cannot afford to wait for outside mechanics to catch up, they need to be able to make repairs quickly to keep vehicles on the road.

Kangas again questioned the need, which Odden continued to express was a worthy purchase that would be well used to continue to service vehicles in the county.

All were in favor of approving the purchase.

In other actions, the council:

  • Approved the part-time solid waste attendant position description and reposting of the position internally and externally until filled. The position has been unfilled for over a year. The position was set at a grade 49.
  • Approved the gambling permit for England Prairie Pioneer Club, Inc., for bingo and a raffle for the August 22, 2021, event.
  • Approved the renewal of liquor license for Blueberry Pines.
  • Approved the quote of the Wadena County parking lot striping project to Pavestripe LLC for the amount of $1,505 from the Non-Levy Building Fund.
  • Heard from Odden that workplace guidelines related to COVID-19 were not changing at this time. He noted that the vaccine demand was down, however there was still vaccine available. The county is now using the Public Health office for vaccinations rather than the Maslowski Wellness and Research Center. “Right now we are encouraging everyone that wants to get one, to get one,” Odden said.
Michael Johnson is the news editor for Agweek. He lives in the city of Verndale, Minn., but is bent on making it as country as he can until he returns once more to the farm living he enjoys. Also living the dream are his two children and wife.
You can reach Michael at or 218-640-2312.
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