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Arts organizations, county plan music fest

Rosemount and Hastings share a beautiful piece of geography, the Spring Lake Park Preserve. The two communities both also have newly formed community bands. So to John Loch and Dick Graham it seemed natural that the two communities could partner to offer a music festival.

On Sept. 23 the Hastings Prescott Arts Council and the Rosemount Area Arts Council will team up with Dakota County to host the first Spring Lake Park Reserve Music Festival. The Rosemount Community Band and the River Valley Community Band will perform from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. outside the Schaars Bluff Gathering Center. Each band will perform a variety of songs including pop tunes and traditional band music.

Loch said the idea originated at a Dakota County Arts Collaborative meeting when he happened to be sitting next to Graham, a member of the Hastings Prescott Arts Council.

The men got to talking about their communities' newly organized bands and ideas started to form. The two men then thought the park would be the perfect location to hold a joint concert because it sits along the river.

"We thought Spring Lake Park was an ideal place to put on an event," said Loch.

Graham said when they approached the county about using the park for such an event they were immediately on board.

"We're really excited about the park and the opportunity to hold the festival there," said Graham.

Parks operation coordinator Katie Pata said when the Schaars Bluff Gathering Center was built the outdoor area was designed to house such events. She added that Dakota County had hoped to bring similar events to the park but time and resources limited their abilities. Pata said the Spring Lake Park Music Festival meets the county's goals and they hope the event will serve as a springboard to bring other arts related events to the park.

"The two groups have been wonderful to work with. Our hope is that the partnership will expand," said Pata.

This year, Loch said, the goal is to bring more exposure to the Spring Lake Park Preserve and to promote the two community bands. Going forward he envisions a bigger event that might include more musical acts, a craft fair and vendors. He added that historically Native Americans used the site and he would like to tie in some historical significance in the future.

The Rosemount Community Band was organized in fall 2011 with the purpose of providing adult musicians with an opportunity to perform and to provide concerts for the public. John Zschunke directs the band.

The River Valley Band organized in November 2010 and includes musicians from the Hastings and Prescott areas. All members of the band played during high school or college and joined to continue performing. Jim Jacobsen directs the band.

The festival is free and open to the public. The River City Popcorn Company will have refreshments available for purchase. Attendees should bring blankets or chairs to sit on. The park is located at 8395 127 Street East.