Corey Hanson swears he's just a normal guy.
And if you talk to him, you'd certainly believe it. Somewhat shy and patently unassuming, Hanson seems every bit what he claims to be until you start talking about music.
That's when you start to find out that this "normal" guy has an abnormal zeal for all things rock 'n' roll, with a particular penchant for the "glam" era of the late 1980s and early '90s.
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Sawyer will be the temporary home of thousands of rock music fans in July when it hosts the Thunder Mountain Rockfest. The festival will be held at Rock Dakota Ranch, an 80-acre area just north of Sawyer.
If your idea of a "normal" guy is one who has dined, talked and just hung out with musicians who have sold millions of records, then Hanson's about as "normal" as Mom and apple pie. After all, hasn't everyone promoted a major music festival?
Hanson is the promoter of Thunder Mountain Rockfest, which will bring a dozen headliners and many more major acts to the Minot area in July 2010. Currently residing in the Grand Forks area with his wife, Stacey, and five daughters, Hanson can appreciate small-town North Dakota values, born and raised in Langdon.
Working with a small country music festival "in all aspects" led the Hansons to dream a bigger and probably much, much louder dream.
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"Stacey and I have always wanted to do our own festival," Hanson said.
Hanson's goal in the first year is to average 5,000 fans per day at the three-day festival, which he believes will be a boon to the greater Minot area. In addition to more than 1,500 campsites at Rock Dakota Ranch, shuttle buses will ferry people back and forth from Sawyer to Minot, cutting down on traffic and providing people who might have imbibed too thoroughly with a safe way to Minot. With such close proximity to a major population base, festival-goers will be able to take advantage of Minot's hotels, restaurants and other amenities.
"We want to bring people in from all over," Hanson said. "We're hoping for a positive yearly event for people, at affordable prices."
Of course no one goes into business to lose money, but Hanson's eyes aren't only on his own coffers.
"We also want to help raise money for local service clubs in the area, and charities all over the state of North Dakota," Hanson said.
Although Thunder Mountain Rockfest makes no bones about being geared toward adults, Hanson doesn't envision the event turning into a teeming den of iniquity or a Woodstock-on-the-prairie.
"I want people to think of laughing, dancing and having a great time," Hanson said. "People freeing their minds, at least for the weekend. Good music, great camping and a great surrounding community."
Tickets and camping passes are available from the festival's Web site at (www.rockdakota.com).