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Headliners to rock at annual concert

Sammy Hagar rocks the crowd at last summer's Moondance Jam. He will be on stage for this week's event along with other stars. Pioneer Photo/Tammie Richter

Moondance Jam 19 will open today and will rock through Saturday, July 17.

Headliners include Lynyrd Skynyrd, Sammy Hagar, Buckcherry, REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Collective Soul and Jonny Lang among the 30 plus acts at this year's event.

After seeing a 15 percent increase in attendance at their country music festival in June along with an increase in Moondance Jam pre-event ticket sales, Moondance Events expects a huge turnout for the rock festival. Organizers will open the gates a day early on 10 a.m. today for early camping and the Pre Jam Party. Anyone who wants to set up camp a day early can upgrade their camping at the gate for $20 per person. Plus, Wednesday night will feature a free Pre Jam Party in the Saloon that will be capped off with '80s rock tribute, Hairball, headlining on the main stage.

"Our phones have been ringing off the hook for the last month," said Moondance Jam host Bill Bieloh. "General admission tickets and three- and four-day general camping are going to be available at the gate, but everything else is sold out. There is definitely a buzz this year. That first day is really going to set the tone."

The first "official" full day of Moondance Jam features some newer bands the classic rock festival traditionally books, such as Tonic, Hoobastank, Collective Soul and Buckcherry. However, the first night will close with classic rocker Sammy Hagar putting on a big show.

Friday's lineup will definitely stay closer to the classic rock tone of past Jams with guitar men Pat Travers and former member of The Eagles, Don Felder, putting on shows before and after the '80s and '90s power pop group The Smithereens. The night will be topped off by four-time Grammy winner Pat Benatar and multi-platinum rockers REO Speedwagon.

'The final day of the Jam will have some great contrasting rock, southern rock and blues shows," Bieloh said. "The day kicks off with two top, up-and-coming southern rock bands, Black Berry Smoke and Black Stone Cherry, back-to-back on the main stage with the former having a more traditional southern rock sound and the latter a high-octane style bordering on modern rock. Then Cinderella returns to Moondance with their bluesy, glam rock show followed by Fargo native and Grammy award winning blues, gospel and rock singer/songwriter, Jonny Lang. Closing out Moondance Jam is arguably the greatest southern rock band of all-time, Lynyrd Skynyrd."

Many other regional and tribute bands will play throughout the festival on the Moondance Saloon regional stage and the Lazy Moon Backstage Bar acoustic stage. Regional schedules and all band bios can be found online at

Wednesday early camping check-in is from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Concert gates open at 5:30 for the Pre Jam Party.

Thursday through Saturday camping check in is from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day. Concert gates open at noon each day.

Moondance Jam is held on the Moondance Events festival grounds 6.5 miles southeast of Walker on state Highway 200. There is $10 per day parking available at the Moondance Events grounds and $5 per day motorcycle parking. Northern Lights Casino 2.5 miles west of Moondance offers free parking in with a free Moondance shuttle service that runs from the time the concert gates open until the concert area is empty.

Moondance Jam offers open festival seating for all general admission ticket holders. That means everyone at Moondance has equal opportunity to get up to the front of the stage or sit back on the lawn seating area

Every year there is something new at Moondance. This year's biggest additions are the new Tiki Bar, Moondance Shuffle "pub crawl," Moondance Shuffle Drawing and the karaoke contest from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Lazy Moon Backstage Bar. Winners will win tickets and camping for Moondance Jam 20.

Jammers will also see a lot more cameras and crew shooting the event this year. Blaze TV's production crew will be filming for 10 shows to be featured later this summer and over the next two years on DIRECTV's concert series on The 101 Network.