Blue Ox Festival interview and preview with competition winner Dave Noles!

Music in Minnesota held a contest to showcase a fan’s experience at the Blue Ox Festival. The winning fan is none other than Dave Noles, a fascinating and friendly person whom we had the chance to meet during a beautiful day in the park.

Photo by Smouse

Dave has always loved all kinds of music throughout his life. Since he easily gets along with people, being focused on the Blue Ox festival opened his eyes to a whole new chapter in his life. Discovering new bands thanks to Blue Ox made the festival all the more attractive. Bringing close friends and their kids to a great music festival is an ideal pairing for a great summer experience.

The first year they went with their friends and kids, they stayed off site so they could get a feel for the festival as they would bring their kids each time.

Dave mentioned that he really enjoyed the band Pert Near Sandstone. The whole thing was so much fun and such a positive experience that they all decided to stay put this year.

Camping at the festival will be extra special as it gives adults the opportunity to take turns seeing the special Midnight Outback shows while the kids sleep.

Installed at the end of a path in the woods, groups play small sets at midnight among the stars of the sky. Small lights along the path create an almost magical experience.

Feeling lost and fully connected to nature, audiences can really lean in to enjoy the groups.

Another perk of staying onsite is attending morning yoga sessions and then taking a nap for lunch before the bulk of the bands perform back-to-back on the two stages.

Photo by Smouse

Evolution of the Blue Ox

The festival attracts fans of bluegrass, folk and Americana, but has also expanded to appeal to families and fans of other genres of music. The 2022 festival will feature Okee Dokee Brothers, Them Coulee Boys, Pert Near Sandstone and the band Sam Bush.

Some genres you’ll find among the blue grass are steeped in jazz, pop, rock, and rap. Bands such as Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Paul Cauthen, Humbird and Samantha Fish infuse different styles into their sound.

For example, Joseph is a sister trio to Blah Blah whose music is a mix of folk, pop and rock. Mixing harmonies with hard strumming brings variety to the band mix.

Another band, Railroad Earth, is mostly acoustic guitar, fiddle and mandolin leading to the core bluegrass soul music, but the new albums lend themselves to a hard rock feel as the electric guitar and bass begin to shine. The vocals on the new albums lose the main twang sound and become more of a powerful, well-balanced hard rock sound. An evolution, not an overhaul, it’s a sign of growth and good change.

Folk band Good Morning Bedlam have a great way of having folk elements with a theatrical pop twist. Their sound has also evolved wonderfully. They will play in the backcountry at midnight Saturday.

Another very cool part of the festival is the change in band merchandising. Merchandise changes throughout the day, so there’s always something to look at, but be quick if you see a band’s merchandise you want as it will be wrapped up and new one will be installed in its place.

Photo by Smouse

Families welcome!!

Families can enjoy little wonders like bubbles as part of the musical experience. At night, phosphorescent balloons float above the crowd. The Blue Ox Festival makes sure there are enough friendly visuals to keep kids feeling comfortable and entertained.

Our contest winner Dave Noles and his wife have 3 children – ages 11, 8 and 3 can’t wait to see all the bands and family things the festival has to offer. Children play games and eat snacks while being in nature while their parents listen to music and maybe have a special drink.

They went there last year and were surprised and delighted by the welcoming feeling of the crowd. People were generally happy and there was a sense of community and unity within the festival grounds.

There is a good sense of general safety and precautions put in place as well, which is very important at a festival of many people from many walks of life.

Photo by Smouse

Contest Winner – Dave Noles Blue Ox from his eyes

Dave had such a great time at Blue Ox the year before. He noted that he liked the scenes to be side by side, so it was easy to catch each group as they bounced back and forth. He enjoyed the family activities and feels very confident to bring his family and have his friend’s family join them.

He mostly says to be with my children and my friends at the festival. He looks forward to experiencing music and knowing that his children are having fun with family activities by his side.

Dave mentioned that he really likes the refillable metal cups they give you at beer stands. It reduces waste and plastic consumption when you can bring your same cup to fill. Tattersall and Summit are some of the options you will find.

He’s a happy, friendly guy and I’m sure his contagious enthusiasm will add perfectly to an ideal festival atmosphere.

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