It's going to take more than a record-setting flood to keep the leaves from rocking this year.
Although the Rock the Leaves benefit concert might be down, it's certainly not out. Since the usual venue, Oak Park, is obviously not up to hosting the event this year, the show has been moved indoors to the Grand International Inn at 1505 N. Broadway on Saturday from noon to 10 p.m.
There is no cost to attend. There is a suggested donation of $5 per person.
While the proceeds from Rock the Leaves usually go to a single individual in need of assistance paying medical bills, this year's beneficiaries will be the flood victims of Minot.
Dan Hansen, Rock the Leaves founder, said all donations will be given to the "I Helped Rebuild Minot" fund, which buys Sheet-rock to help flood victims rebuild their homes. For more information, visit (www.rocktheleaves.com) or (www.ihelpedrebuildminot.com).
Also, there will be free food to go along with the music, as well as games for the younger folks in the crowd.
The usual eclectic collection of bands will be playing this year, including several first-time performers such as Who I Am, a rock band from Williston, Ghosts of Fairfax, a Minot metal band, Minot band It's A Secret, Mindcrye, a metal band from Minot, Bismarck band Sleep For Dreaming, and The Joel Janikowski Band from Bismarck.
This year Rock the Leaves is really all about North Dakotans helping other North Dakotans, as the performers are coming from closer to home.
"Usually we try to get somebody from out of state, but it's really a local affair and North Dakota as a community coming together playing music," Hansen said. "We hope that we can get people from all over -- from Minot to Bismarck to Williston, all within a couple hundred miles of Minot -- get some folks coming into town to support it."
Rock the Leaves had originally been scheduled for August, and Hansen contemplated just canceling the event because of all the upheaval the flooding caused, both for the city and himself. Not only was Hansen's rental house flooded, but his parents' home was as well.
"Actually when it first flooded I didn't know if I was going to do it because I was living in a rental house on Third Avenue, a block from the river by Oak Park. So I had to evacuate from
there, moved in with my parents. Two weeks later, when the river actually went over, I had to move out of my parents' house and into a hotel," Hansen said. "Then we went from a hotel to a rental house, where we are now, kind of waiting to see what's going to happen. It's just been a very crazy and interesting summer."
When Hansen heard about the I Helped Rebuild Minot fund, he knew Rock the Leaves had to somehow go on this year.
"Even though I was affected in more than one way, it made me want to help all the more because I like doing it, and being directly affected by it inspired me even more than usual," Hansen said.
"It's more than just raising money for a community that was devastated," he added. "It's also to bring the people together that were affected, either directly or if you know someone who was affected, just to kind of give people something to get their mind off of things, something fun to do amongst all the stress."
While he hasn't been able to get inside Oak Park, Hansen has seen it from a distance, and said the devastation is almost unimaginable.
"It's surreal, like everyone says. It's surreal to see. The trees have been uprooted because of the water, and just the damage to everything in the park," Hansen said. "It's just crazy, it's crazy to see."
With the later date, Hansen moved the concert inside because of how unpredictable North Dakota weather can be. Although they've had to cut a few things like the dunking booth and tent this year, Hansen said they're trying to recreate the outdoor experience Rock the Leaves gives as faithfully as possible. On a positive note, he did mention this should be the first time in years they won't have to deal with rain.
"We're going to decorate the room with fake trees and some fake leaves. We're going to get some park benches and picnic benches in there hopefully," Hansen said. "We're bringing the park inside this year. We're going to try to make the experience just as good inside."