Outdoor concerts are a part of summer in Minnesota for a lot of people. We Fest and Moondance Jam are a couple of the headliners in a long list of music festivals.

For the second straight year, people in the Alexandria area could take in a night of music from a well-known artist surrounded by a beautiful setting right in their backyard.

The second-ever Anderson Bash drew a crowd on Friday night. Joey Anderson, who put on the event with his brother Scott and many members of their family, did not have exact ticket-sale numbers as of Monday morning. He estimated they had about the same number of people as the inaugural bash in 2018 when they drew between 3,500 and 4,000.

Music fans line the grass between acts during the Anderson Bash on Friday night.
Music fans line the grass between acts during the Anderson Bash on Friday night. Eric Morken / Echo Press

On Friday, the Farmer’s Daughters and the Shane Martin Band opened for headliner Clay Walker, who owns more than 30 hits since he first topped the country singles chart in 1993. The stop in Alexandria is one of nearly 60 live performances Walker has scheduled in 2019.

“I think looking from the outside in, everyone was satisfied and it was good,” Joey Anderson said. “There were little glitches that we saw, but I don’t think the audience really noticed or minded. After we got through that, all we got was compliments.

“I thought Clay’s show was amazing myself. Everyone seemed to think the quality of the sound and quality of the show was good.”

The Andersons hosted the event on their 140-acre property along County Road 45 in southwest Alexandria that they own with their sister, Tammy Young.

The stage was set up against the backdrop of a field of sunflowers in full bloom. Weather cooperated fully, with temperatures sitting around 80 degrees as the sun set.

It was a similar scene a year ago when the Bellamy Brothers were the main attraction. That event was free to the public. The Andersons, who own several area businesses, wanted to show their appreciation to their customers and the community.

Absorbing the cost of an event like this was not sustainable, but the siblings wanted this opportunity to be here locally again and did so with a fee for everyone but kids age 14 and younger, who got in free. There were kids activities and food trucks on site, and a bar run by the Elks Lodge.

There was also a live auction between acts where money was raised for the West Central Area FFA and wrestling booster club. Members of both clubs helped out with parking.

“We just think the Alex community needs it,” Joey Anderson said.

“There’s other music festivals you can go to, but they don’t have a venue like this. There’s so many good seats here,” he said. “We just think to be able to have this venue, we should put it to use.”

It’s not something that comes together easy, taking months of planning and organizing. The last week leading up to the event is solid labor from about 20 people. But the payoff came in seeing fans dancing and singing along to the many hits that Walker has recorded over the years.

“That’s the point of it is to get people here to enjoy it,” Joey Anderson said. “Seeing that is the best part of it. Ticket sales are great, but with what we charged we couldn’t have gotten enough people in here to pay for Clay. We tried to keep our prices low so people could still come.”

The cost of a general-admission ticket was $20 ahead of the show and $25 at the gate. A VIP package that included seating right in front of the stage was also available for $100.

The reaction the Andersons have received has them already committed to bringing the Anderson Bash back for a third straight year, and it will grow in 2020.

It was announced to the crowd on Friday night that next year’s concert will be a two-day event. The plan is to have multiple headliners and opening acts on a Friday and Saturday in late July back on the Anderson farm.

“It’s 100 percent locked in for next year,” Anderson said. “We just think the community needs it with Alex not having something like this. Everyone we talked to was more than excited to have it again.”