Some of the biggest names in country music are coming to Minnesota this week for the 20th annual Winstock Festival in Winsted Friday and Saturday.
The grounds for the festival opens for campers Thursday afternoon, and the music gets underway Friday with Maiden Dixie at 4:30 p.m. and Neal McCoy at 6:35 p.m. Closing out the night are co-headliners Miranda Lambert at 8:40 p.m. and Dierks Bentley at 10:45 p.m.
The music Saturday begins at 12:30 p.m. with DiamondBack, followed by The Farm at 2:35 p.m., Sawyer Brown at 4:40 p.m., 38 Special at 6:45 p.m. and Kip Moore at 8:50 p.m. Headliner Luke Bryan is scheduled to take the stage at 10:30 p.m.
An Emerging Artists stage will also feature acts both nights.
Lambert and Bentley have double-headlined gigs before. Tulsa World gave the duo high marks for their gig in Tulsa, Okla., in April.
"Lambert commands a crowd unlike any other woman. She doesn't wear elaborate gowns or six-inch heels or barrel through costume changes like Carrie Underwood. She'd never girl-flip her hair or shy behind theatrics like Taylor Swift," reviewer Jennifer Chancellor wrote. "Lambert cusses. She covers the raunchy 'Mississippi Queen' like she is one."
Chancellor also praised Bentley for being a crowd-pleaser.
"At one point, security lifted a young woman onstage, and Bentley took a sign from her and held it up for everyone to see: 'I can play your guitar better than the girl in OKC.' So he handed her his guitar and commenced running up and down the stage high-fiving fans as the woman strummed away behind him," the critic wrote.
Jacksonville.com also lauded the touring duo, saying "Nobody does woman-scorned songs better than Lambert and the nearly sold-out, largely female crowd ate them up, singing along to 'Kerosene,' 'Gunpowder & Lead,' 'Over You' and 'White Liar.'"
As for Bentley, the publication said, "Nobody works the crowd better than just about anybody, playing to the cheap seats, singing from microphone stands on all corners of the stage, toasting the fans and reeling off song after song with great singalong choruses."
Also this week:
Huey Lewis and the News will be playing Grand Casino Mille Lacs in Onamia on Thursday. The band is touring in celebration of their landmark 1983 album "Sports," which spawned four Top 10 hit singles -- "The Heart of Rock & Roll," "Heart & Soul," "I Want a New Drug" and "If This is It," and sold nearly 10 million copies.
Hank Williams Jr., meanwhile, is playing Jackpot Junction Casino Hotel's Amphitheater Saturday in Morton. Also Saturday is classic rock group Tommy James and the Shondells, who are playing the Northern Lights Casino Hotel.