WALKER -- The 10th annual Moondance Jam picks up a head of steam today with the Blues Travelers and the Wallflowers before charging into the weekend with a lineup of classic rock and roll superstars.
The main course Friday and Saturday features George Thorogood, Pat Benatar and Ted Nugent, seasoned with performances by more recent pop-rockers Big Head Todd and the Monsters.
An estimated 60,000 people -- about 15,000 per day -- will boogey at this year's Jam, a four-day outdoor rock and roll festival that has helped put Walker on the entertainment map.
It opened Wednesday with a series of main-stage performances by local and regional bands -- including Brainerd's Silent Partner -- and a headliner riff by The Little River Band.
The action on the main stage -- about 20 local and regional bands take turns on a couple of secondary stages -- started at 3 p.m. today with Dirty Word, followed by The Byrds Celebration and The Marshall Tucker Band.
Blues Traveler featuring lead singer and harmonica maestro John Popper takes the stage at 9 p.m., representing a departure from the Jam's classic rock and roll traditions.
The New York-based group emerged in the early 1990s with its platinum release "Run-Around," which helped forge a blues-rock revival similar in sound and style to the Grateful Dead and Led Zepplin.
Another 1990s band the Wallflowers -- which earned a couple of Grammy nominations in 1996 with rock tune "6th Avenue Heartache" -- closes out today's show with an 11 p.m. performance.
Friday's lineup opens with classic rockers Head East at 3 p.m., Molly Hatchet at 4:30 p.m. and the 1990s sensation Big Head Todd at 7 p.m.
A Colorado-based trio, Big Head Todd is best remembered for its jazzy-bluesy 1993 hit "Sister Sweetly," which went gold and stayed on the charts for several months.
Classic rockers REO Speedwagon sets up Friday's headliner, George Thorogood and the Delaware Destroyers, with a 9 p.m. performance, with Thorogood fueling the riot at about 11 p.m.
Thorogood is synonymous with guitar-driven traditional rock and roll.
Dave Mason, Night Ranger and Creedence Clearwater Revisited get things started Saturday, followed at 9 p.m. by Pat Benatar. Nugent wraps up the Jam with a performance at 11 p.m.
The Moondance Jam lineup -- normally classic rockers from the 1960s and 1970s -- was expanded this year to include groups from the 1980s and 1990s in an effort to broaden the festival's appeal to younger music fans, founder Bill Bieloh said.
Surveys show that the average age of regular "jammers" is about 36, he said, and "we wanted to hit the 21-year-old to 50-year-old with our lineup. We added some favorites for every generation."
Single day passes are available at the gate only for $75.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.