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ZZ Top in Ottertail? Rock concerts could be coming this summer

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Rock fans may get to see and hear some of their favorite music legends close to home this summer, if the dream of an Ottertail Concert Series comes true.

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Brad Morgan and his partner Marv Anderson are the two guys behind the proposed venture. Morgan attended the Feb. 21 meeting of the Ottertail City Council to share his vision for the concert series and request the council's support.

"It's a way to get tourism into the community and it's something that we really believe in," Morgan explained.

He and Anderson would like to use the tractor pull park area to provide open-air entertainment to the public with well-known bands from the 1970s and early '80s era.

Although the actual bands have not been determined yet, a list of possibilities Morgan provided included names such as REO Speedwagon, Stevie Nicks, Steely Dan, Kansas, Moody Blues, Fleetwood Mac, and ZZ Top.

Potential dates for the concerts haven't been set yet, but the plan is to hold three separate shows.

Morgan said the city would be paid $3,000 per show as a rental fee. A percentage of the net profits from the concert series will also be paid to the city at the conclusion of the season.

He asked the city of Ottertail to provide the venue, park lighting, and electricity (the cost of which would be absorbed by the Ottertail Concert Series). A request was also made to have a couple of firemen and a fire truck stationed at the pull park during the concerts as preventative measures.

"We'll pick up the bill on their time," Morgan mentioned.

Members of the council raised a few questions regarding liability for the events. Morgan assured that he would be covering all of the necessary insurance for the concerts. Permits will also be required for the food and alcohol sales.

"We figure there will be around 800 vehicles," Morgan said.

The Ottertail Concert Series will have a limit of 2,500 tickets available for the comfort of the attendees. VIP tickets will be offered.

Addressing concerns about the impact of the concerts on city residents, Morgan said no concert would go later than 11:30 p.m. and pyrotechnics will not be allowed within the park area during the entertainment, for safety purposes.

"The concerts will likely be held on a Thursday or a Sunday. If we're lucky, we'll schedule one for a Saturday," Morgan reported. He said a concert would never be scheduled on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday in consideration of local residents.

"The stage also comes with soundproofing sides and a soundproofed back so the sound goes straight forward," Morgan explained. He said they would also set up RVs to help create a sound barrier to control the noise for area residents.

Council members stressed the importance of making sure the community is cleaned up after the event. They also brought up the possibility of having someone patrol the residential area of the city during the event.

"I think it's a good idea. It's just a matter of how it will work with the tractor pull people and the grounds," councilor Darold Woessner said.

After discussing Morgan's willingness to work with the city and community groups to protect the grounds for other events, a motion was approved to move forward with the Ottertail Concert Series. The motion is contingent on all of the legal requirements being fulfilled by Morgan and Anderson.

In other city news:

-The meeting schedule of the Ottertail City Council has been changed for the coming year.

The council will now have just one meeting a month, throughout the entire year. This meeting will be held on the third Thursday of the month at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

Due to a scheduling conflict, the March meeting will be held on Thursday, March 14.

-Nichole Lalum, Ottertail Convention and Tourism Association, updated the council on the branding initiatives for the city of Ottertail.

She presented the council with a copy of a new logo that all city groups are encouraged to use. The council approved the design and officially accepted it as the city logo.

-The city acknowledged a donation of $764.16 from the Auction Committee to help cover the costs of new cabinets for the Ottertail Community Center.

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