Forest Jam, Grand Rapids State Bank’s outdoor summer music festival at the Minnesota Forest History Center, is back. What turned out to be the centerpiece of the bank’s year-long celebration of its 100th birthday during 2014 will feature an encore performance on Friday, July 3.
“We were overwhelmed with the turn-out for last year’s Forest Jam,” Julie Birkey, marketing director, said, “and the feedback that followed convinced us there was enough interest in the event to offer an encore.
“It is an outdoor music festival, so we worked to make sure we had good bands that would attract the wide audience who attended last year’s Centennial Forest Jam,” Birkey continued. “I think we have delivered a great line-up this year, and we hope people enjoy themselves as thoroughly as everyone seemed to last year.”
The lead act is the Roe Family Singers, a self-proclaimed “good-time, old-time hillbilly band.” Keeping with the forest theme, the second band is The Pines, an indie-roots band from Minneapolis. The third group is Something Completely Different, a group of Grand Rapids natives who have each made their way in the music business after forming their own garage band as high school classmates years ago. Gary Louris will close out Forest Jam 2; Gary is the lead singer for the Jayhawks, another Minneapolis band.
“Sponsoring an event of this magnitude has taken a lot of work,” Birkey continued, “but we believe it fits with Grand Rapids State Bank’s commitment to local artists, our community and our customer base. The Wilcox family has a long history of investments in art and culture in our community, and this event is another way to demonstrate that commitment while showcasing more local and regional artistic talent.”
Holding the event at the Minnesota Forest History Center has been extremely valuable as a way to have locals, in particular, understand that the Center has a lot to offer Grand Rapids area visitors and residents alike, said Jeff Johns, executive director of the Forest History Center.
“Community partners like Grand Rapids State Bank holding events like Forest Jam have helped us realize one of our goals: to remain relevant to the community in which we live,” Johns commented. “We want people to realize that while we interpret the history of Minnesota’s forests, we offer a lot more than that to the public. This outdoor concert is a grand example, and the Friends of the Forest History Center will be there to help. We couldn’t be more pleased with the partnership we’ve developed over the years with Grand Rapids State Bank.”