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Several concerts head outdoors this summer

Hairball, a band that plays the music of several popular 80s bands -- complete with costume changes -- will perform two outdoor concerts this summer in Farmington. The band is pictured at last year's Rotary Rocktoberfest concert. This year's version of the Rotary event will feature one of those popular 80s bands -- Great White -- in the flesh.

If you like outdoor concerts, cold beer and warm summer nights, Farmington is the place to be these days.

Beginning this weekend, and going through the end of September, there are eight outdoor concerts planned around the community -- even more, if you count the Dakota County Fair's offerings.

But while the fair usually brings out musicians, the concept of outdoor concerts and events seems to be picking up support around the community. There have been bands playing in bars around town for years, but it's the outdoor concerts and events that are drawing the attention of many folks these days.

A few of the events are outdoor parties coupled with big-name bands. But a few are fund raisers, a few are grand openings and a few are part of Dew Days.

Mark your calendars

The summer of outdoor music in Farmington starts off Saturday, with the 80's cover band Hairball playing at the Farmington American Legion. June 12, The Johnny Holm Band comes to the Legion. Both are outdoor parties.

The Legion will also host several events for Dew Days the weekend of June 18-19. The annual Kiss the Pig contest, a fund raiser for Rambling River Center, begins at 6 p.m. June 18 on the stage outside at the Legion. Right after that, the Legion will have the bands Pop Rocks and 3rd Supply on the outdoor stage. The next night, Saturday, June 19, Gin Mill opens for Zed Lepplin, again on the open stage.

Meanwhile, downtown, the new Celts Pub folks will hold their grand opening celebration - and sure enough, that means outdoor music there, too. On June 18, Tim Mahoney comes to the outdoor stage. On June 19, Select Three - one of two Minnesota bands that opened for Bon Jovi not too long ago - will perform on the stage out back.

On July 10, and the American Legion will be host to country singer Lorrie Morgan, who headlines a day full of music out back. Other bands include Skinny Molly, Sebastian Roberts and City Knights Band.

Hairball comes back to the Legion on Aug. 21 for a final show outside at the Legion this year.

But that's not the end of the season of music. One last show is set for Saturday, Sept. 25, out at the Dakota County Fairgrounds. Hosted by the Farmington Rotary, 80s rock band Great White will take the stage for Rocktoberfest 2010.

Big names

The Lorrie Morgan and Great White concerts are bringing national recording artists to the community, and both of those events are set up as fund raisers.

The Lorrie Morgan concert is billed as a fund raiser for the Minnesota Fellowship for Humanity. Around since 1995, MFH assists battered women's shelters, food shelves, the homeless and military families in need by providing them with funding.

Concert promoter Jerry Weber is familiar with the Legion's facilities - in his full-time role, he's the guy who delivers the portable toilets for the outdoor parties. But his wife is the founder of Minnesota Fellowship for Humanity, so he works pretty closely with the organization.

Weber's wife met local musician Sebastian Roberts a while back, shortly after Roberts had recorded a duet with Morgan. One conversation led to another, and pretty soon, a day-long concert was in the works.

Because Morgan is a national act, things will run a little different for that concert. Tickets are available online at Parking for the event will be at the Dakota County Fairgrounds with a shuttle running back and.

As for Great White, the parking and event will all be held on the fairgrounds. The Great White portion of the event will be inside a building, but the rest of the event - including lots of family activities throughout the day - will be held outdoors. Last year, according to Rotary president Anika Rychner, the polka band Karl and the Country Dutchmen was a pretty big hit, so they'll be back this year, too.

"Most of the money is put right back into Farmington. We also have a couple of international projects, but most goes back to the community," she said.

Part of the reason the concert was moved inside, Rychner said, is that national acts tend to have very specific lighting needs and it was difficult to find a tent that was high enough for the lighting Great White required.

Tickets are for the Great White concert are already on sale through Farmington Rotarians.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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