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The sound of support - Hastings Music Festival draws 1,000 people to the riverfront

Alex Ligertwood, former lead singer of Santana, performs with the Hastings band Headliner. Star Gazette photos by Katrina Styx1 / 8
The audience cheers one of the bands performing at the Hastings Music Festival.2 / 8
A temporary stage was set up for the day at Jaycee Park, right along the river, for bands to perform.3 / 8
Hastings native Patrick Sieben performed a short acoustic set for his hometown crowd. Sieben performs regularly in Las Vegas.4 / 8
Jaycee Park was filled with music enthusiasts and supporters of Hastings Family Service.5 / 8
A face painting table was available at the event, and several youth took on a new look for the night.6 / 8
Mark Reuter of Headliner talks with fans while event staff set up the stage for his band's part of the show.7 / 8
The music was good and loud Saturday evening.8 / 8

The annual Hastings Music Festival rocked the riverfront Saturday, featuring national performers and raising money for Hastings Family Service.

The festival, now in its fifth year, was held at Jaycee Park during the afternoon and evening. The event started with Seb's Medicine, a Red Wing band that won the first Battle of the Bands in Hastings, held in August. They were followed by Brooke Ellis with Kingsview; Bucky Covington; Headliner with Randall Hall, Alex Ligertwood and Patrick Sieben; and Eric Hutchinson.

The festival is more than a chance to see good bands perform live on a local stage. The event is a major fundraiser for Hastings Family Service. Back in 2008, the event began when Hastings resident Nick Langley started noticing a number of overqualified people looking for work at his business. Recognizing how many people were in need because of the failing economy, he decided to try to do something to help his community. He loved music and had heard of other music festivals, so he approached Hastings Family Service to see if his idea of hosting a music festival could work. He teamed up with Andy Lucking, Gordy Pearson and Kevin Sieben to make the first Hastings Music Festival a reality.

Langley had to leave the festival after the first year, but the legacy continues with Lucking, Pearson and Sieben. This year's event drew 1,000 people. Last year, about 1,500 people made their way to the river.

Lucking credits the national acts with attracting more people, as well as Seb's Medicine. Seb's Medicine was the first act to perform, and while the early shows haven't been as well attended in the past, this one was well attended, Lucking said. He figured the band brought with it a number of people from Red Wing who wanted to see their hometown band on the big stage.

Besides bringing in bigger acts to perform, this year's event also featured a bigger stage than last year. The use of the stage was donated by Chad Pechacek, owner of Allied Production and Sales, and his father, Dave Pechacek, who owns Solid Staging with his son.

"This event really isn't possible without those guys," Lucking said.

Several other sponsors and volunteers help make the event possible.

"A big thank you to all of our sponsors, all of the volunteers and of course all of the attendees and I hope they had a great time," Lucking said.