Ramble Jam country music festival returns this weekend
Grab your cowboy hat, pull on those boots and get on down to the Dakota County Fairgrounds for Farmington Rotary's second annual country music festival, Ramble Jam.
The two-day festival kicks off at 2 p.m. Friday and offers more than a dozen local and national country music acts. Friday's national acts include Randy Houser, Dustin Lynch and Whisky Myers. Gates open Saturday at noon. On tap for the second night are national acts Lee Brice, Josh Thompson and Sunny Sweeney.
Minnesota talent on stage during the festival includes Rocket Club, Lost Highway, Greene & Hurst, Sara Lynn Wallin with 2 Mile Final, Tim Sigler, Devon Worley Band and Two Hicks and a Chick.
That's a lot of music to listen to, and event co-chair Chad Collignon knows it. He's spent a lot of time with his fellow Rotarians over the past months, and some of that time has been out at other country music festivals or music venues where they've heard many of the performers.
"We're watching how the crowd reacts, what kind of performers they were. We're fans of country music too. There are lots of artists out there we like," Collignon said. "We like to go to their local venues to see them perform, and we've pretty much seen all of them. It's tough to choose who to hire."
Collignon is excited to hear this year's headliners. With several hitmakers on board, he's hopeful a good group of fans will turn out in Farmington this weekend. He's also looking forward to hearing some new music.
"Whiskey Myers is not very well known in this area but they are a great show. They are southern rock. It will get loud. This will probably be one of the ones I'm looking forward to the most," he said.
Since it is a two-day event, Farmington Rotary is working with the fair to make camping available to anyone who wants to rent a spot for one or two nights. There are about 120 spots available for campers, and Collignon hopes people will take advantage of the space.
The event stands to benefit the local community, too, he said. Several food vendors - Longbranch, PizzaMan, Taco Dick's and Kings Royal Chops - will have booths set up at the fairgrounds over the weekend. Rotary is also partnering with several community nonprofits to retain volunteers and help sell raffle tickets for the event.
"They're pretty much all local people we're familiar with. We're just trying to keep the community involved and participating with the event, and connecting with Rotary," he said.
The majority of the funds raised through this year's celebration will go back into the community through various projects and donations, he added.
This year's festival tops last year's first Ramble Jam, which was a one-night event. Prior to that, the Farmington Rotary did two years of rock music with an event called Rocktoberfest. The upcoming event is just a sign of things to come in the future, Collignon said.
"We're really excited about this event and to have the opportunity to bring in people coming from long distances. It's really great to be involved in the Rotary Club and to be able to bring people to Farmington. Hopefully we can build on that in the future. We have the perfect place to do it with the fairgrounds," he said.
For more information, visit Ramble Jam's website, www.rambljamcountry.com.