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Detroit Lakes' 10,000 Lakes Festival's future uncertain

The crowd cheers for the Dave Matthews Band as it takes the stage July 25 at the Soo Pass Ranch as part of the 10,000 Lakes Festival. (Forum file photo)

FARGO -- The future of the 10,000 Lakes Festival appears to be up in the air as rumors swirl that there will be no show in 2010.

A Facebook page was set up Wednesday by Tom Westerholm of Fargo asking fans of the jam band festival at the Soo Pass Ranch outside of Detroit Lakes, Minn., to write organizers through the festival's site,, to show support.

After hearing rumors that the annual event, which started in 2003, would not be back, Westerholm sent a note to the site.

"We will be sorting out our plans over next few weeks," festival co-owner and promoter, Rand Levy, responded in the e-mail, which Westerholm shared with The Forum. "Still checking talent ideas."

Westerholm responded, saying "loyal, loving, concerned fans" wanted to know "which way you're leaning."

"No one cares more about the show than I. If I can find a path to make it work as a business, cool," Levy replied. "That is what I am working on."

The four-day affair in July draws about 16,000 fans a year, with a record high of 18,000.

Despite adding a more mainstream headliner, Dave Matthews, fans didn't turn out in 2009 as organizers had hoped. Levy said before the event he expected 10,000 to 15,000 people to buy single-day tickets for the Matthews finale, in addition to those with full festival passes. Shortly before the July 25 headlining set, an organizer estimated overall festival attendance around 17,000.

With more than 2,000 fans joining his Facebook group in two days, Westerholm said the popular consensus among fans was that Matthews dragged down the bill with an expensive performance fee and "brought the wrong crowd."

"Normally it's a more reserved group, but this year it was more drunk college kids that were just there to see Dave Matthews Band and after Dave, everyone pretty much piled out," said the 24-year-old Westerholm.

A message left on Levy's phone Friday afternoon was not returned, but he did respond to an e-mail asking him if there would be a 10,000 Lakes festival in 2010.

"Will decide over next couple weeks," he wrote. "Boils down to money and talent."

The 10,000 Lakes Web site had no details about a 2010 show.

The only recent addition to the site was the announcement of a rummage sale, selling T-shirts and sweatshirts. 10,000 Lakes' more successful sister festival, WE Fest, also currently has a similar rummage sale on its Web site, as well as details on its August lineup.