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Two to choose from: Tree Fest or Band Fest?


This news story was published on April 6, 2014.
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NIT – North Iowans will have a couple of options on the weekend of May 23-25: Tree Town Festival in Forest City or the annual Band Fest in Mason City.

Which will you choose?

Tree Town Fest is bringing in some huge country acts like Brad Paisley and Toby Keith, not to mention a slew of other up-and-comers.  Winnebago is one of the sponsors of the family-friendly event, and it seems the town of Forest City is pulling out all the stops for this one.  A spiffy website was launched for the event, as well as a social media presence. Hundreds of campers are expected, and ticket sales are said to be brisk.  The price for the whole weekend is now $140 per ticket and has been climbing since the event was announced.  Kids under the age of 5 are free with an adult with a ticket.  Camping costs now range from $100 to $3,500.  A $10 pass will get you into some of the shows.

Over in Mason City, the 76th annual Band Fest weekend will be put on simultaneously, run by the Mason City Chamber of Commerce.  It is said that only 14 towns are sending bands to the parade – the highlight of the weekend – down from a peak of about 100 bands in the parade’s heyday.  The Band Fest website – somewhat stagnant and looks like it was built 15 years ago – talks mostly about how to be a sponsor, as does the event’s Facebook page.  The lineup of events includes the parade, a car show, a carnival and some local/regional music talent playing in East Park.  However, the cost to go to the parade and most of the events is free, except for food and carnival rides and games.  Complicating the 2104 Band Fest is a heated controversy in the community involving the Chamber’s decision to name Terry Branstad – running for re-election as governor – as the Band Fest Grand Marshall.  The word on the street is that politics has now been injected into this family-friendly event.

Of course, you could choose neither event, or hit the highlights of both, or perhaps find something else to do.  It will be late May, and hopefully the weather is nice.  There will be other options.

Which of these two premier events will be the bigger success?
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12 Responses to Two to choose from: Tree Fest or Band Fest?

  1. bodacious Reply Report comment

    April 10, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    One of the rumors I heard about the Tree Town Festival is that many of the on-line buyers have had their credit cards hacked after purchasing tickets. That might be an interesting story Matt.

  2. sad but true Reply Report comment

    April 7, 2014 at 7:30 am

    Just like everything else in Mason City, the band festival has long become a dead horse, time to officially end it.

  3. rahmbo Reply Report comment

    April 6, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    When I first moved to Mason City, one of the upsides that locals talked about in terms of living here was how quick and easy it was to get to Minneapolis or Des Moines.

    “Easy to leave for the weekend” would be my take on either of these two festivals.

  4. John Reply Report comment

    April 6, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    The lack of bands and performers really makes the band fest of no interest to me. I don’go any longer.

  5. Cretin Hall Reply Report comment

    April 6, 2014 at 8:26 pm

    NIT you forgot to mention another free event at the Bandfest. Free bare-knuckle brawling in East Park, complete with cops versus hoodlums. Tell the families to grab the lawn chairs, a lemonade, maybe a popcorn and set up shop in the grass. There they can witness some of the best people-watching they every going to get. Tops Wal-Mart, even.

  6. John Reply Report comment

    April 6, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    Winnebago is catering to it’s motor home owners and WIT members. They have the money to attend these things and they will, that is why they live the life style that they do, they will love it. I doubt many local people will be there.

  7. bagodad Reply Report comment

    April 6, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    The bandfest used to be a celebration of music. Since the Chamber of Commerce has decided to change it into something else, I and my family won’t be driving to Mason City to witness it. I certainly won’t be spending big bucks to hear country music in Forest City, either.

  8. LVS Reply Report comment

    April 6, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    I have not been to Band Festival for years. I marched in it back in the day when we had over 100 bands in the parade. They are slowly killing this family event just like they kill everything else in this town.

  9. bodacious Reply Report comment

    April 6, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    Part of the problem, along with the political bs, is that the Band Festival organizers, in a brilliant move, moved the festival to Memorial Day weekend which makes a lot of people hesitant. With many graduations and graduation parties on the weekend, 1st weekend of the summer season, mini-vacations planned, and family in, there isn’t a lot of time for Band Festival.
    Tree Town Festival’s rising costs of tickets make it an expensive weekend too. My wife and I would be looking at $260. Not…

    • LVS Reply Report comment

      April 6, 2014 at 6:51 pm

      @bodacious-I am not interested in paying $260.00 for me an my wife to go to Forest City either. I guess we will just stay home. We used to go to East Park just for the music but parking is terrible and the crowd has been getting so rough we won’t even go there any more. Time to get out the B.B. grill and have a few friends over.

  10. rukidding Reply Report comment

    April 6, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    Now that the chamber has decided to make bandfest a political event with Braindead as the grand- marshal my family will stay away from this.

    • LVS Reply Report comment

      April 6, 2014 at 6:54 pm

      I have nothing against the Terry Branstad and think he has done a decent job as our govenor, but I don’t think he is the right person to have as grand marshal. We should leave politics out of the day.