By Andrew Ellis, Editor
Lakes Jam general manager Ken Lacy was floored by the Midwest CMA Awards show back in February, and knew they had to get involved somehow. But how? Planning for this year’s festival was already in the late stages, but there was one area they realized still had room – the VIP tent.
“We felt there was an opportunity to showcase Midwest CMA talent and we had space available on our VIP stage,” Lacy says.
It wasn’t long until the VIP stage was renamed the Midwest CMA Stage. The artists will take the stage once the other artists on the Main Stage are done, and will perform until the next artist takes the Main Stage. While Lakes Jam, which runs from June 27th – 29th, has smaller stages similar to other festivals, the VIP tent has one key difference.
“We ask National artists to join us in the VIP tent before or after their performances to do interviews and interact with the crowd,” he says. “Some do, some don’t, but this creates the opportunity, for example, for maybe Lauren Alaina to pop into the VIP tent while Erin Grand is playing and who knows what happens from there.”
Grand, who took home the Midwest CMA Female Vocalist of the Year Award in February, will be performing in the VIP tent Thursday evening. Iowa member and Midwest CMA ambassador Danny Grause will go on earlier that day. Friday will have music from the Dram Shop Country Band and Midwest CMA Band of the Year and Album of the Year winners The Plott Hounds, and then Saturday will be held down by The Jensen Sisters and Midwest CMA New Artist of the Year Anderson Daniels.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with Lakes Jam – one of the top concert events in the Midwest!” says founding board member Paul Thomas. “Having a Midwest CMA stage at a major festival is a great opportunity not only to showcase the great talent we have in our organization, but it also introduces the Midwest CMA to thousands of fans that can then discover their NEXT favorite artist!”
Even though the awards show was only in its first year, those award titles already carry a lot of weight for the recipients. Lakes Jam put on four separate pre-parties where fans could win tickets to the festival, and award winners Grand, The Plott Hounds, and Daniels all played one. The Dram Shop Country Band took the stage for the last one.
“When we announce that The Plott Hounds, Midwest CMA Band of the Year and Album of the Year recipients, will be playing, it creates a buzz that wouldn’t have been there previously,” Lacy says.
With events like these it’s always best to keep looking to the next year, and Lacy already sees one change in mind.
“We intend on moving the Midwest CMA Stage out to the general public in 2020 if all goes well,” he says.
Photo Credit: Lakes Jam