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10 Truths About WE Fest 2017

WE Fest pictures
CJ Berzin

WE Fest 2017 marked the annual festival’s 35th anniversary, and headliners Lady AntebellumZac Brown Band and Luke Bryan were up for the task. Killer sets from Alan JacksonDarius RuckerBrett Eldredge and many more were also part of the three-day event, which ran Aug. 3-5 in Detroit Lakes, Minn.

Since its inception, WE Fest has become one of North America’s leading country music festivals. Soo Pass Ranch was an especially busy place in 2017 — here are 10 things we learned throughout the weekend.

Lady Antebellum Sound Best With Horns

WE Fest pictures
CJ Berzin

True story: Lady Antebellum’s touring horn section is on loan from Justin Timberlake … and, man, do they sound goodOn Thursday night (Aug. 3) at WE Fest 2017, Lady A proved that their year-long hiatus did them good; Charles Kelley, Dave Haywood and Hillary Scott should probably “borrow” those horn players permanently.

Hillary Scott and Kelsea Ballerini Are Mani-Pedi Buddies on Tour

Lady Antebellum and Kelsea Ballerini (who also played WE Fest on Thursday) are touring together this summer, and Hillary Scott is pumped about finally having another girl on the road, especially for mani-pedi and girl-talk purposes. Not that Dave Haywood and Charles Kelley are necessarily opposed to a little pampering: Kelley admits that he’s gotten a mani-pedi before, after a bit of coaxing from his wife.

WE Fest Is a Great Place for a Wedding

On Friday (Aug. 4), Lisa and Sean from Cavalier, N.D., got married in one of the WE Fest campgrounds. The two met online in November, were engaged in January and decided “two months ago, max,” they say, to hold their wedding during WE Fest. They’d been looking into a Florida wedding, but cost and other factors made the festival the perfect place, even if Lisa had originally suggested it mostly as a joke.

Zac Brown Band Are Human Jukeboxes

WE Fest pictures
Keith Griner

Rock, classic rock, Southern rock and heavy metal all found their way into Zac Brown Band’s dynamic Friday night set at WE Fest 2017. Thanks to Brown and company’s stellar musicianship, covers of Allman Brothers BandJimi Hendrix and Metallica songs — among many others — dotted ZBB’s show, in between hits such as “Chicken Fried” and newer song such as “Roots.” Nobody in country music does a cover song quite like these guys!

Kelsea Ballerini + a Rainbow = Magic

WE Fest pictures
Keith Griner

A light rain was falling when Ballerini took the WE Fest stage on Thursday evening, but that didn’t stop fans from dancing and singing along to her set. Besides, the rain quickly subsided … and left an incredible rainbow over Soo Pass Ranch.

Even Santa Loves WE Fest

Didn't have much trouble celebrating #internationalbeerday at @wefestmn ! #wefest #countrymusic #nationalbeerday #beerporn

A post shared by Taste of Country (@tasteofcountry) on

… and he was more than willing to help us celebrate International Beer Day on Friday!

Brett Eldredge Is Great at Surprises

Thanks to @bretteldredge for helping us surprise a few #wefest fans Video coming. #countrymusic #bretteldredge #wegotpranks

A post shared by Taste of Country (@tasteofcountry) on

Taste of Country searched WE Fest for some of Eldredge’s biggest fans and enticed them with meet and greet passes in exchange for some help with a video. What they didn’t know, however, was that Eldredge was very close by and listening to every word — that is, until he popped out to surprise them. Readers will be able to see what happened soon, but let’s just say this: Their reactions were priceless.

Luke Bryan + Fireworks = Best. Saturday Night. Ever.

WE Fest pictures
CJ Berzin

Bryan was ready to close out WE Fest 2017 with a bang — literally. At the end of his hits-filled set on Saturday night (Aug. 5), fireworks burst into the night sky, bringing a spectacular weekend to a spectacular end.

You Can’t Beat Those ‘Copter Views …

We're #wefest-ing from 5k feet. This view!!! #countrymusic #airialphotography #helicopterview

A post shared by Taste of Country (@tasteofcountry) on

‘Nuff said.

… or That Pizza!

We don’t have a picture to show you because we were too busy snarfing down our slices from Pizza Nova. When it comes to late-night festival ‘za, this place did it oh-so right.

See the Best Pictures From WE Fest 2017

NEXT: WE Fest 2018 Headliners Announced

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