Lakes Jam is more than a music festival. It is the most entertaining festival in the Midwest, featuring music, camping and outdoor events in the beautifully scenic Brainerd Lakes area on the grounds of Brainerd International Raceway.
Our artist line-up brings the hottest new artists, the biggest chart toppers and up-and-comers representing the best of country and rock. Each year our Jammers experience something different, fresh and exciting!
about lakes jam
At the finish of the 2023 event, Lakes Jam will have had over 190 artist performances. In 2013, there were 9, in 2023 there will be 35.
Lakes Jam is the only Multi-Day Music Festival that allows UTV’s, ATV’s and Golf Carts to move around in the campgrounds.
The Stage at Lakes Jam consists of two semis. One transforms into the main stage deck and roof, The other contains the sides, bracing, wings and other addons. It takes 20 people, two days to prepare it for a show.
Over the Years
Lakes Jam’s first headliner was REO Speeedwagon. REO Speedwagon also played at Brainerd International Raceway in the early 70’s and was an opener back then! Around 3000 people attended.
Lakes Jam added Country along with the Rock moving the festival to the next level. Massive rains were not able to put a damper on the weekend and the show went on as planned. Weather could have been catastrophic to Lakes Jam’s success but the fans prevailed and Mother Nature decided the show must go on!
Lakes Jam became a 3-Day event with Chris Janson headlining and his first Big hit “Buy Me a Boat” was released earlier in the year. The main stage moved from the campgrounds, to where it is today, allowing for even more growth. Watercross Racing was introduced for the first time.
2016 brought the largest artist Lakes Jam had to date which was Toby Keith. Also, the trio of Styx, Survivor and 38 Special was a classic rock homerun! With the return of Watercross, the Bean Bag Tournament and Car Show were added, as well as the brand “More Than A Music Festival”!
A relatively unknown Skillet (a Christian Rock Band) put on a headlining show most will never forget! A big reason they’re back in 2023 for the 10th Anniversary. And seeing as Buckcherry performed a few hours earlier, a little faith and forgiveness couldn’t hurt! Lakes Jam also saw the first major acts to return from previous years in Chris Janson and, always a fan favorite, Bret Michaels. Expanding on “More Than A Music Festival”, Car Drifting brought a new smoke show to the grounds and Lawnmower Racing, we found out, is a thing! Fans were also able to design their own guitars working with The Traveling Art Pub. Due to the larger crowds, Lakes Jam introduced Wednesday Camping to those wanting early entry to find their favorite camp sites, or maybe they just wanted to start partying earlier!
Lakes Jam introduced another new artist to the world with Ashley McBryde. George Thorogood showed he could still own the stage and tribute band Zed Leppelin was often confused with the actual Led Zeppelin which angered a few fans! It didn’t help when several publications printed it wrong as well! To reward the Wednesday campers, Lakes Jam added a 3rd stage in the campgrounds which allowed UTV, ATV and Golf Cart users to view the performance from their vehicle if they chose.
Lakes Jam, finding it more difficult to focus on classic rock due to availability and cost, jumped ahead a few years with 3 Doors Down, Collective Soul and Fuel. Classic Country artists Sawyer Brown, Gary Allan and Little Texas joined the newer generation of Justin Moore, Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery for our strongest country offering to date. A 4th stage was added in our VIP tent featuring many acts from The Midwest Country Music Organization bringing the total number of performers to 25, up from just 9 in 2013. The campground stage continued to be a success, almost doubling the previous year’s Wednesday attendance. A Poker Tournament for all the bluffers was added to continue to build on “More Than A Music Festival”.
2020 Lakes Jam did not happen due to the C word and stifled Jon Pardi’s debut. Fast forward to 2021 and a few weeks before he was to take the stage, was put on vocal rest due to a throat issue. With little time, we figured there was zero chance of finding a suitable replacement. However, Big & Rich came to the rescue and put on an amazing show! Erecting a massive stage beginning on Monday and finishing on Tuesday, we decided to take advantage of its availability. Hell, it’s already paid for, we might as well use it. We moved our Wednesday night performances from the campgrounds, to the concert bowl, allowing those not camping to enjoy the experience as well. Hairball, with their crazy outfit changes and near flawless renditions of classic rock top hits, sent everyone into a frenzy for the weekend! There was a flag controversy come Saturday night, but Brothers Osborne quickly put that to rest and put on one of the best shows in Lakes Jam history. Going out with a bang, Matt Stell took a ride in one of the drift cars and made waves on social media as the car exploded both of its rear tires during an extended burnout!
Lakes Jam provided more electricity than normal as Tesla performed following a massive lightning storm with more off in the distance! Fortunately the weather station our production team works with was able to determine there were no ground strikes within 30 miles over a two hour period. So, the show went on! Jon Pardi stunned the crowd after almost a three year wait, that has to be some kind of festival record! Cole Swindell finished the weekend off in grand style shortly after Hardy was announced as the headliner for the 2023 event! The Wheelie Bar Stage was added for even more entertainment during the day and The Great Race rolled through on Saturday. This modern day version of the cannonball run featured 115 classic cars racing from Rhode Island to Fargo.
2023 Lakes Jam features Hardy, Dustin Lynch and Skillet as Headliners. Minnesota sensation Soul Asylum will also be joining Puddle of Mudd on Thursday. Did you know Hardy covers Puddle of Mudd song Blurry? Two stages will be added to the campgrounds making a total of six stages. There will be 35 performances in 2023 bringing the grand total to 193 acts over our 10 events! Music Bingo will be added each day and rumor has it another big, dirty, motorsport exhibition is right around the corner! Add those to Drifting, Watercross, Lawnmower Racing, Bean Bag Tourney, Poker Tourney and Meat Raffle and Lakes Jam is screaming “More Than A Music Festival”!