Wakefield Reunion This Weekend in Sioux Falls
Wakefield. For long time South Dakotans, the name brings back great memories. I grew up in Minneapolis and we had our own sounds and bands there, but once I moved to South Dakota in the early 90's, I started hearing about this band.
The core artists of the band, Geoff Gunderson, Jeff Koller and Evan Jones, have been friends for 40 years after meeting in 1973 and forming their first bands as kids in their early teens.
By 1977, they were winning Battle of the Bands contests and were playing a lot of shows around the area. By the early 80's, they had a sound man and a lights man and toured extensively, playing over 250 shows a year!
They recorded an album, opened for Head East and ZZ Top and were the biggest band in the state, but without being able to secure the national recording contract, they disbanded in 1987 at the height of their popularity.
But over the years, the guys would get that 'itch' to play together again and about every two years, they would play a one off show. We've booked them twice in fact at Hot Harley Nights, and to talk to people at those shows, I began to realize just how popular they were.
I was helping set up for the first of those Hot Harley Nights appearances when a woman rode her bicycle into the park carrying the Wakefield album. She was a little shaky when she asked me "is Wakefield playing here tonight? Really? And for free??" She was a very happy woman pedaling away that afternoon and was joined by 20,000+ later that night as Wakefield tore through two sets of originals and covers, bringing the crowd instantly back to the 1980's and all the great times they had with the band.
Tonight and Saturday (June 7 & 8) Wakefield is going to let the good times roll again at the Thirsty Duck in Sioux Falls. There is no cover charge. I think I may need to drop by as well and make a few new memories with one of the most popular bands South Dakota has ever produced.