By Ryan Gueningsman
WINSTED, MN When Keith Urban performed at Winstock in 2004, it is safe to say his star was on the rise. Since then, the Winstock 2017 headliner has gone on to shine.
Urban will take the stage at the 24th year of the annual Winsted festival Friday, June 9, spearheading a lineup that also includes Brantley Gilbert, Little Big Town, Lynyrd Skynyrd, LOCASH, Drake White & the Big Fire, Tucker Beathard, Lindsay Ell, Ryan Hurd, Brooke Eden, Runaway June, Dylan Jakobsen, Chris Hawkey, Shane Martin, and Copperhead Creek.
Besides his four Grammy Awards, Urban has won 10 Country Music Association Awards, 11 Academy of Country Music Awards, a People’s Choice and an American Music Award, and has been nominated for a Golden Globe. He is a member of the Grand Ole Opry and remains the only country artist to have ever served as an American Idol judge.
“Having an entertainer like Keith Urban is going to really make this year’s Winstock a special one,” said Winstock Country Music Festival Chairman Dave Danielson. “He’s at the top of his game and remains one of the best there is.”
Danielson noted that typically Urban would have performed at Winstock Saturday night, but organizers were able to secure other big acts such as Gilbert, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Little Big Town to compliment Urban’s Friday performance.
“We are really looking forward to seeing how the schedule flows this year, having an artist of Keith’s magnitude on Friday night,” Danielson said.
Another artist at the top of their game is Little Big Town, which will take the stage Friday, June 9 before Urban. Hailed as country music’s version of Fleetwood Mac, the quartet has had memorable hits over the years including “Better Man,” “Girl Crush,” “Pontoon,” “Boondocks,” and many others.
Saturday night’s lineup features the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame presence known as Lynyrd Skynyrd.
“When we had Lynyrd Skynyrd perform in 2006, they drew the biggest walk-up at the gate we’d ever had,” Danielson said. Following the group will be Brantley Gilbert, fresh off his own arena-headlining tour.
“It will be a little bit more of a southern-feeling night with Brantley’s Georgia roots and, of course, Skynyrd,” Danielson noted. “We’re really looking forward to bringing their shows back-to-back to our fans.”
For complete biographies on the bands scheduled to perform at Winstock ‘17, follow the “lineup” link from www.winstockfestival.com.
Instead of the campsite decorating contest at Winstock, this year organizers are planning a medallion hunt.
“After a great run with the campsite decorating contest, it was decided to bring a medallion hunt to the Winstock grounds this year,” Danielson said. “We hope it will be a good incentive for fans to come into the concert area early and also visit the vendors while looking for the medallion.”
Winstock ‘17 medallion hunt clues will be posted beginning at 2 p.m. Friday, June 9 at the Winstock Information Tent, on the big screens at Winstock, and via Winstock’s social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram).
A new clue will appear every two hours through 8 p.m. Friday, June 9, unless the medallion is found prior to that time. Clues will resume Saturday, June 10 at 10 a.m. in the same manner through 8 p.m., or until the medallion is found. The Winstock medallion will be hidden in a public area of the Winstock concert bowl. The medallion will not be hidden in the VIP or reserved seating areas, the campgrounds, or backstage or in any non-public areas. For complete medallion hunt rules and information, visit the contests page on the Winstock website.
Winstock ‘17 specifics
• Tickets remain available for Winstock and may be purchased online at shop.winstockfestival.com, by calling (320) 485-4287, or at the gates. General admission ($140) and a limited number of camping ($120) are available. VIP and reserved seating are sold out.
• The 18th annual Winsted Fire Department spaghetti dinner will be served on the Winstock grounds Thursday, June 8 from 4-9 p.m. at the Winstock food tent, and at the Winsted Fire Department from 4-8 p.m. Cost is $8 for adults and $6 for children.
• The seventh annual Winstock beanbag tournament will take place Thursday, June 8 at the festival grounds, beginning at 6:30 p.m. This year there will be four brackets. Register onsite Thursday, June 8 beginning at 5 p.m. inside the festival grounds. No pre-registration accepted.
• Fans are encouraged to be in the concert bowl to honor America each day before the concerts begin. Members of the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted Choir, under the direction of Alexandra Thrasher, will sing the national anthem Friday at approximately 4:20 p.m. Ken Pelzel, along with daughters Gwendolyn (Pelzel) Erickson and Julia Pelzel, will sing the national anthem Saturday at approximately 12:20 p.m. The national anthem will be sung from the main stage while members of the Minnesota National Guard’s Military Funeral Honors Program present the colors.
• The 2017 version of the Winstock mobile app is available for both Android and Apple devices. Guests are encouraged to download/install the app to keep up-to-date with exclusive updates and information during this year’s event. Organizers encourage fans to install the app before arrival to the Winstock grounds to avoid service overload.
• The annual meeting for Winstock volunteers will take place in the Winstock VIP tent Wednesday, June 7 at 7 p.m. Those volunteering at Winstock are encouraged to attend.
• For additional artist announcements, promotions, sponsor and ticket information, and everything Winstock, visit www.winstockfestival.com, sign up for the Winstock Email news, follow the festival on Twitter @WinstockMN, like Winstock on Facebook, and download the official Winstock app for Android and Apple devices. Winstock is also on Instagram and Snapchat.