Indie pop artist Jeremy Messersmith will headline the one-of-a-kind sober music festival HazelFest, which—in its seventh year—doubles as the 70th anniversary party for the host Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation on Saturday, Aug. 3, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the Hazelden Betty Ford campus in Center City, Minn.
Chris Kroeze, Jesse Larson, Kat Perkins and Nicholas David—popular Twin Cities-area artists who share the unique distinction of finishing in the top 5 on NBC's hit show The Voice—will be among the other main-stage performers at the feel-good outdoor festival, to be held Saturday, Aug. 3, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the Hazelden Betty Ford campus in Center City.
"Jeremy Messersmith is unquestionably one of the most talented and innovative songwriters to emerge from our vibrant Minnesota music community in the past decade. He's the perfect headliner for HazelFest," said David Campbell, the former Twin Cities radio DJ who now works for the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and will emcee HazelFest for the sixth time. "Always sweet, sometimes deceptively dark, and often very funny, Jeremy's songs are unceasingly imaginative and interesting. More McCartney than Lennon with a little Harrison too, he has crafted soaring orchestral pop songs but can also charm you solo with just his guitar or ukulele. Jeremy loves to find a way to make each of his performances unique and special. I can't wait to see what he cooks up for HazelFest."
Two new features to this year's celebration are a three-act comedy-and-recovery-show featuring a trio of comedians, Miss Shannon, Will Spottedbear and John Deboer; and a mainstage conversation with one of the nation's top-rated radio hosts, Tom Barnard of KQRS-FM.
Presented by the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and sponsored by 89.3 The Current, HazelFest brings together people affected by addiction and the general public to celebrate recovery, spread hope, and smash the stigma associated with substance use disorders and mental illness. Once a year, the quiet campus of the nation's leading nonprofit provider of addiction treatment and recovery services transforms into a spirited summer bash. It is now one of the biggest highlights on Minnesota's summer concert calendar.
"Seven years in, HazelFest continues to change and grow, and I think that's because of its powerful ability to warm even the coldest of hearts and bring hope to the hopeless," Campbell said. "There's nothing like being fully present and connected in the moment with a few thousand others who are having sober fun together. It's a very special kind of community vibe that resonates with people touched by addiction and mental health concerns, but also with people who are just doing their best navigating through the everyday challenges of life."
Campbell will be joined for part of the festival by Jana Shortal—co-anchor of NBC-affiliate KARE 11's "Breaking the News" in Minneapolis—who will make a cameo appearance as co-emcee during the run of four former The Voice finalists. It will be a second HazelFest appearance for Nicholas David, who headlined the inaugural event in 2013 after finishing third and inspiring millions with both his music and his recovery journey during Season 3 of The Voice.
"We are excited to have Nicholas back and to bring together for the first time on one stage all four of the Twin Citiesarea's top finishers on the prime time television institution that is The Voice," said event producer, Woody McBride, himself a local DJ legend of First Avenue lore and now a Twin Cities event producer. "These are unbelievable artists who all share the rare, surreal experience of having rocketed to national acclaim in a few short weeks, thanks to their immense talent and the power of reality TV. This will be a special treat for everyone, especially folks who are fans of great music by seasoned musicians and fans of the show."
This summer's lineup will be HazelFest's most diverse, with more than 20 performers, including comedians, inspirational speakers and musical acts spanning indie rock, bluegrass, pop, hip hop, jazz, soul, blues and more. Among the many highlights will be a music and storytelling panel curated by Dissonance, a Minnesota nonprofit that facilitates community and conversation around wellness and the arts. Moderated by writer and radio personality John Moe, host of the popular national podcast The Hilarious World of Depression, the panel will feature iconic Twin Cities rocker Mark Mallman, who recently found time to write a book called The Happiness Playlist, which is getting high praise; London-native Katy Vernon whose raved-about new album Suit of Hearts chronicles recovery and a life-changing trip back home; and Laura Hugo, a singer-songwriter originally from the Navajo Nation in Arizona, who writes honest songs about loss, depression, anxiety and heartbreak.
Joining Messersmith and The Voice all-stars on the main stage will be the bluesy Corey Medina & Brothers Band, best-album award winner at the Native American Music Awards; the soulful Annie Mack Trio, named one of First Avenue's Best New Bands of 2018; teenage prodigy Lydia Liza, whose burgeoning success as a young adult has landed her in the New York Times and on stages with everyone from the Goo Goo Dolls to Dessa; folk duo Dusty Heart, back for a second year with their gorgeous harmonies; and a unique Q&A with KQRS radio personality Tom Barnard.
Dissonance will host a more intimate 500-seat LifeTake2 Stage featuring the music and storytelling panel, along with Journeyman Ink, an inspiring spoken word/musical duo from Dallas; a trio of highly regarded Midwestern comedians—Miss Shannon, Will Spottedbear and John Deboer; Tim Patrick and His Blue Eyes Band; a young artist named Taryn; cameos by several of the main stage acts; and more.
"HazelFest is a family-friendly event where all are welcome, and this year, we have woven together an ultra-talented lineup that truly offers something for everyone," McBride said. "We also found good people with good hearts—most, if not all, with a personal, family or friendship connection to the beauty of healthy living and recovery. As usual, HazelFest is poised to quench the soul as well as the ears on what we hope is a beautiful summer day."
Yoga will serenely kick off the event, which will also include kids' dance parties; comedy and magic shows; some of the area's best food trucks; many recovery-focused and art exhibitors; a petting zoo; and other fun, family-friendly activities.
Tickets are just $20 in advance and available now at www.HazelFest.com. They will be $30 at the door, and children 12 and under can attend for free. For more information, please visit the HazelFest website.
ARTIST PHOTOS available by request
About the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation
The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is a force of healing and hope for individuals, families and communities affected by addiction to alcohol and other drugs. As the nation's leading nonprofit provider of comprehensive inpatient and outpatient treatment for adults and youth, the Foundation has 17 locations nationwide and collaborates with an expansive network throughout health care. With a legacy that began in 1949 and includes the 1982 founding of the Betty Ford Center, the Foundation today also encompasses a graduate school of addiction studies, a publishing division, an addiction research center, recovery advocacy and thought leadership, professional and medical education programs, school-based prevention resources and a specialized program for children who grow up in families with addiction. Learn more at www.HazeldenBettyFord.org and on Twitter @hazldnbettyford