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4 concerts in a 100-year-old barn

Oronoco barn ready to host bluegrass, folk music concerts this summer.

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The Trailer Trash perform at the Loy Show Barn in this July 2019 photo. The group will return during a summer concert series in 2022.
Contributed / Chris Steffen
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ORONOCO — Most folks want to clear the trash out of their barns, but Heath Loy and Becky Schlegel are inviting the Trailer Trash into theirs for a night of dancing.

The foot stomping honky-tonk sounds of Trailer Trash will launch a season of four bluegrass, folk, and old-time music concerts at the Loy Show Barn that will include everything from Grammy-winning performers to an international bluegrass band hailing from Switzerland.

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In 2014, Loy and Schlegel, both musicians themselves (Loy an accomplished banjo player and Schlegel a singer and guitarist), started presenting concerts in their barn.

“Because we are musicians ourselves, it was important to us to represent bluegrass and country music, done the way it used to be. What a perfect atmosphere to present it in, a century-old barn,” says Schlegel.

The barn, steeped in the hard work of generations, “is like a museum,” says Schlegel, describing etchings and signatures her family has found on the barn’s walls from its previous occupants. “We feel a strong connection to that family, and we believe they are here in spirit,” says Schlegel.

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Loy and Schlegel say their farm feels like a haven that encourages relaxation with its fresh air and sunshine. “Our dream was to share it with others and let the spirit of its music work its magic bringing people together,” says Schlegel. Since its beginning, the Loy Show Barn, located at 6914 60th Ave. NW in Oronoco, Minnesota, has hosted more than 20 shows.

The venue has a beautiful southern view looking out over the city of Rochester from its back window. Salvaged church pews provide rows of seating that face a cozy corner stage. The barn exudes the crunchy perfumes of cut hay and well-aged wood that is more likely to be joined together with dovetail joints and pegs than nails and screws. Loy and Schlegel’s family has a dog, a salamander, a canary, and cats along with chickens and ducks that ensure the farm is always lively.

In addition to the Trailer Trash performing at the Loy Show Barn on Saturday June 11th, the Loy Show Barn season this year will include performances from The High 48s, a bluegrass band from Minnesota; and Caludo, a bluegrass band from Switzerland, during a bluegrass brunch serving up fat stacks of flapjacks and the Half Barrel’s bloody Marys on Saturday, July 10. The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys, a Grammy-award-winning bluegrass band that tours all over the U.S. and Europe, will give a concert on Sunday Aug. 14. The season will conclude with the 7th annual Banjo Bash on Saturday, Aug. 20.

The Banjo Bash was a concept that Loy dreamed up. It is a full day of music featuring “The Grand Ol’ Opry Show” which presents friends and neighbors representing their favorite country artists. Band’s like “The Pale Ales,” who Loy performs banjo with, will also play, and the day will have many opportunities for impromptu jam sessions with mandolinists, upright bass players, and of course twangy banjos all shredding some grassy standards. Schlegel says the Banjo Bash is the pinnacle of their season.

The urge to present music at his family’s barn might partially be a product of Loy’s heritage. His father, Bob, a renowned local fiddler and bassist, organized the first bluegrass festival in Minnesota 45 years ago. Bob was also at the center of a weekly Rochester bluegrass jam that launched in 1968 and has lasted for more than half a century. Bob even had a brief stint as the owner of Loy’s Music Center, a music shop located on North Broadway from 1975-1978.

Before he passed away in 2018, Bob was able to catch some shows at the Loy Show Barn. When Bob saw the Po’ Ramblin’ Boys perform there, he told his son it was the best show he’d seen in 45 years of chasing bluegrass.

Loy and Schlegel are both excited to continue a legacy of music at their family’s barn. They can’t wait for the season to start with sweatshirts and cowboy boots as the homegrown sound of honky-tonk permeates the dancers hoofing it under the polished beams of a century-old monument to the farm tradition.

“We feel so grateful to be able to share this beautiful farm and gift of music with others,” says Schlegel, calling it “a dream come true.”

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If you go

The Loy Show Barn is located just to the northwest of Rochester at 6914 60th Ave. NW, Oronoco MN. It's less than a mile west of Menard's north.

Learn more about the Loy Show Barn and tickets for shows at the venue's Facebook page .

The 2022 concert season at the Loy Show Barn includes The Trashy Little Barn Dance on Saturday June 11, the Bluegrass Brunch on Sunday, July 10, The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys on Sunday. Aug. 14, and the 7th annual Banjo Bash on Saturday, Aug. 20.

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