The student weekly of St. Olaf College
Manitou Messenger: Lutefest


By Rumor Has It
News Editor
Friday, May 7, 2004

No Arbstock, no Wellstock, no fish soaked in lye. I guess that's why they call it the Blues.

Hopefully for St. Olaf, however, Saturday will be a happy, sunny, non-depressing affair. The forecast predicts 83-degree weather and a less-than-fifty percent chance of rain. Hosting a handful of blues rockers and campus groups, the all-day music festival Lutefest starts at noon on the grass south of Buntrock Commons, and culminates with the 6:30 p.m. performance of the renowned blues group Indigenous.

I've had a lot of people ask what "loot-fest" was, said Pause Public Relations manager Naura Anderson `04. They don't get the fish connection. I'm [thinking of] taking the fish off the posters from now on.

Lutefest is St. Olaf's brand-spanking new spring concert format. Punning on the name of the Norwegian dish of cod soaked in lye (lutefisk -- served annually during the week of the St. Olaf Christmas Festival), Pause Co-Coordinators Andrew Billing `04 and Jill Zaspel `04 hope the fish-free festival will start a new tradition for the college. I am super-pumped about Lutefest, said Billing.

This fall, it became clear that St. Olaf would not be a part of Carleton's annual Arbstock event -- an outdoor festival in Carleton's Arboretum -- literally known as Spring Concert. Lutefest became an opportunity for St. Olaf to develop its own festival.

"We chose Blues [music] for the theme," Billing said, "because it lends itself [well] to outdoor, all-day forms of musical entertainment." But what happened to Wellstock?

In years past, Wellstock overlapped with Mother-Daughter banquet weekend early each May. It was a Wellness Center-sponsored battle of campus bands for the opportunity to open at the Spring Concert. Because there is no concert to open for anymore, the event is now more of a showcase, Billing said. Also, since the Wellness Center no longer sponsors the event, we decided to just integrate Wellstock into the event, he said, and to change the name.

The Wellness Center will offer tie dying for the white Lutefest t-shirts that will be on sale. Free Frisbees with the fish-and-microphone-lure logo will fly into the hands of concert-goers as they lie on the grass near a dunk tank, balloon toss, face painting and the Volunteer Network's pottable plants.

"The festival is open to the public. A-lure-ing posters currently dot downtown Northfield, and St. Olaf has invited [participants of] Northfield's Community Day of Service," Billing said. Many of the posters remind outsiders of St. Olaf's dry-campus, no-alcohol policy.

"Obviously the students know [about the policy], but we're trying to reinforce [the policy] to everyone else," Henry said. No single point of entry exists to the campus event for receptacle inspection, so Pause security will address individual problems as and if they arise.

"We've had lots of negotiations with [Director of Public Saftey] Fred Behr on the security policy," Billing said. "It is a fair policy. This is still a dry campus, but I can't see us actually kicking anyone out, he said.

Four campus bands will kick off the event, followed by Root City Band and 2nd Exit. Headliners Indigenous originate from the Yankton Indian Reservation in Eastern South Dakota. The four Nakota Sioux (two brothers, a sister, and their cousin) are currently promoting a self-titled album recorded at nearby Cannon Falls' Pachyderm Studios. They will perform later this summer on the Experience Hendrix Tour. The day before Lutefest, Indigenous will be playing at the Oklahoma Blues Festival.

"They seem really excited to play here," Billing said. "They are actually changing their schedule around to be able to come."

"It's a name that not everyone is familiar with," Billing said. But they'll knock everyone's socks off.

The Christian-influenced rock group Salt, winners of the Pause's 2003 Battle of the Bands, will take the stage at noon. Allegra Gellar follows them at 12:45 p.m., replacing the band Fat Gandhi, who was forced to back out due to a conflict.

"They are on the border between metal and heavier metal," Pause Technical Director Mike Erickson `04 said of Gellar. It's not a hair band, but they [sound like they] should have mullets.

Isle of Lucy will take over at 1:30 p.m. "They play sort of like Brit Rock," Concert Chair Mary Henry `06 said. Only none of the members are British.

Henry and her concert committee had bands submit demo tapes in lieu of auditions for the festival. Rather than worrying about which groups would best fit with the bluesy theme of the day, the committee chose the bands they liked the most.

The hip-hop group Fellas & a Lady will finish out the student stage domination at 2:15 p.m. Fellas filled the Pause at their March 12 concert, attracting 620 people, according to Pause Stage Manager Kathryn Speak `05.

Three Fellas and A Lady are going to [rock], Erickson said.

Billing called Root City Band really tight, a Blues-funk-rock group who remind him of Stevie Ray Vaughn. They recently played the Fine Line Music Café in Minneapolis.

Root City is followed by St. Olaf network engineer Mike Sjulstad's band, 2nd Exit. On the St. Olaf website, Sjulstad described his music as "rock and blues. We think of it as rootsy, with bluesy influences," he said, "the kind of music that is not overly arranged or flashy, yet not jam-based either. We are mostly a cover band, but we've been writing and will be performing an original for this show."

In addition to Bon Appétit's outdoor catering for lunch and dinner, the Federation of Christian Athletes (FCA) will offer slushies and Relay for Life will sell ice cream. Demonstrations and information will be available at tables run by the Tae Kwon Do Club, Russian Choir, St. Olaf Christian Outreach and Muslim Student Association. Finstad Grant recipients and entrepreneurs Blake Olson `04 and Michelle Eng `04 will be selling their wares -- Northfield artisans may join them. For all times, website links and a full list of booths at Lutefest, check out

"We will have a real Midway-type setup," said Billing.

As with all bigger events, the Pause is renting out all their sound and lighting gear from Roger Fette of Fette Productions. "[Roger] has become a real friend of ours," Speak said.

The technical crew sounds ready to go. "It's going to be awesome, louder than anything," said Erickson. "It's not supposed to suck. It will be as big and loud as Fall Concert, only outside."

The Manitou Messenger is a student publication of St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minn. It is published weekly during the academic year except during vacations, exam periods and interim. The cost for one year's subscription is $45.00. Postage is paid in Northfield, Minnesota. Manitou Messenger
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