Growing pains move Hambone west

By Tim Ruzek

Post-Bulletin, Austin MN

Hambone Blues Jam is heading west of Austin on Interstate 90 to a new location.

Organizers for the nonprofit music festival announced plans this week to have the seventh annual Hambone Blues Jam at the Holiday Park Golf Course, which is about halfway between Austin and Albert Lea.

The site is seven miles west of Austin at I-90 and Freeborn County Road 46, which is Oakland Avenue in Austin.


Two stages will be set up on the site’s driving range, which is between the nine-hole course and a KOA campground, said Lynne Oldre-Mortenson, one of the festival’s organizers. An additional evening of music also is being added this year to Hambone, she said.

For six years, Hambone had been offered as a one-day event at the Holiday Inn parking lot — which also is just off I-90 in northwest Austin — with an additional stage inside the hotel’s bar, Torge’s Live. It always has been on a Saturday around the Fourth of July.

Hambone, though, has experienced "growing pains" in recent years at the Holiday Inn site, Oldre-Mortenson said. The festival’s first year drew about 1,000 people and has grown to roughly 2,500, she said.

With the new site and additional night of music, organizers are expecting 3,000 to 3,500 people this year, Oldre-Mortenson said.

It’s sad to leave the Holiday Inn because there was a lot of support there, Oldre-Mortenson said. The golf course, however, is a grassy place with more space, including for merchandise and food vendors, she said.

Attendees also will have the option of camping on the same grounds. A shuttle service to a hotel on Austin’s west edge also is expected to be available.

A beer garden will be offered as well as a tent area with a small stage where each day’s "house band" will perform between sets on the main stage.

The lineup for the opening night — Friday, June 27 — will feature a variety of music, including rock, soul, funk and reggae, Oldre-Mortenson said.


Bands for the opening night are Taxi featuring Jesse Smith; Split Shot (formerly the Bissen Brothers Band from Austin); 8 Switch Assembly (a Twin Cities funk/R&B band) and the headliner Gizzae, a top Chicago reggae band. Rocket Dawgs will perform under the tent.

Music on June 27 will run from 5 p.m. until shortly after midnight.

On June 28, Hambone will showcase its main focus — the blues. The lineup will include Annie Mack Band; King Chubby; Plan B (of Austin); Big George Jackson, an act to be announced; Mississippi Heat; and Ronnie Baker Brooks. Black Cat Bone, of Rochester, will play under the tent. Music will be from noon until after midnight.

For more information on the Hambone Blues Jam, go to


Hambone Blues Jam

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