Detroit Lakes Prepares for WE Fest

Construction may disrupt traffic flow at country music festival expecting more than 40,000 people

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. — Detroit Lakes’ population is about to grow rapidly this week and it’s all thanks to WE Fest.

“Our town does grow,” said Carrie Johnston, who is president of the Detroit Lakes Chamber of Commerce. “You go from a town of about 9,000 people to welcoming another forty.”

With thousands of people coming into town, Detroit Lakes could run into some traffic flow problems caused by construction on Highway 10.

They’re working to fix this by providing a shuttle service to and from WE Fest.

Three day passes for the shuttle are available for $15 and a one day pass is available for $7.

Highway construction will stop during the festival.

“I know a lot of the construction will halt now as we get to the peak of WE Fest,” Johnston said. “Crews will be out of the way knowing that we have a lot of traffic coming.”

Red Willow is one business looking forward to the crowds.

“July is a great month for us and it kind of rolls in from WE Fest,” said employee Katie Johnson. “You get a lot of people that do come to town. They’re spending money you know, at the grocery stores, the restaurants, you know, stuff like that. We get a little bit of a trickle down from that.”

The fans also add some liveliness to the town.

“It’s fun, it’s excitement,” Johnson said. “They come in and you get to see all the people swimming at the beach and it’s an interesting crowd to people watch, so I enjoy it.”

She’s not the only one ready for WE Fest; all of Detroit Lakes is too.

“We welcomed WE Fest for over 30 years. We’re excited to see them come,” Johnston said.

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