We Fest – Detroit Lakes MN – August 5-7th 2021

WE Fest in Detroit Lakes Minnesota

Review and photos by Adam Mandell

The WE Fest Music Festival kicked off Thursday night in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota with 3 days full of music, food and cheer.

Thousands of people began packing into the festival grounds early braving the unforgiving heat with trucks and RVs lining up to grab prime campsite real estate at the Soo Pass Ranch. Food trucks served everything from deep fried pickles and corn dogs to gyros and French Fries lined the entrance. Beer seltzers, sex on the beach drinks and Molson Coors Light streamed freely.

Becker County residents were joined by people from across Minnesota as well as interstate travelers from North and South Dakota.

“I’m from Fargo” Pat Morsted said. “I have close friends in this area and I love it here, so when I saw the festival line-up I thought it was worth the trip.”

The 3 days of performances kicked off on Thursday with After Midtown and Ingrid Andress – an up-and-comer in country music who was discovered on NBC’s The Sing Off and now has nearly 123k followers on social media platforms. The hit making duo Florida Georgia Line took the stage as the headliner for the night. Thursday’s performers also included Russell Dickerson and The Cadillac Three.

Solo cup full of beer in his hand, Shy Carter warmed up the crowd on Friday with a set that included original songs like “Good Love” and “boom in the boombox,” as well as “All Night”.

Carter’s performance was followed by Canadian country band High Valley – Lead singer Brad Rempel who has become one of Nashville’s top prospects in recent years with billboard hits “I Be U Be”, “Grew Up On That” and “River’s Still Running”. In between songs Rempel mentioned his roots as growing up a Menonite.

Following High Valleys’ set, Lindsay Ell took the stage in stylish bright orange Nike shoes playing songs from her recent album “Heart Theory”. Ell mentioning contributing to her success was her father who taught her how to play guitar starting from a young age.

The 5 member honky-tonk hippie country band from Nashville LANCO arrived on stage playing chart-topping hits “Born to Love You” and “Greatest Love Story.”

Friday’s headliner Dierks Bentley strolled out amid heavy light display and a cloud of smoke, the already sizeable crowd had grown considerably, filling much of the festival’s VIP and general admissions seating.

Bentley delivered a show-stopping performance, ripping through hits like “Drunk On A Plane”, “I Hold On” and “Somewhere On A Beach.” Bentley kept the crowd singing until the stage lights went black and the final note played.

WE Fest continued Saturday with artists Kameron Marlowe, RaeLynn, Maddie & Tae and highly anticipated headliners Eli Young Band and Blake Shelton. Blake entered the stage cracking jokes “Is this We Fest? I thought it was Weed Fest,” while poking fun at a strong smell of cannabis flowing from the audience. Moving through decades of hits, Shelton united a crowd that ranged from Gen Z to Boomers.

Announced each night was the headliner for next year that will include Jason Aldean, Luke Brian and Miranda Lambert.