Never underestimate what can happen when a couple of community-minded volunteers in Washington start talking about a project.

Last summer a couple of volunteers were working the gates at the Washington Town and Country Fair when they started talking about how the new permanent main stage needed to be used for more than just the Fair each August. It’s a great concert venue and could be part of a nice fundraiser, they said.

A few conversations with more key volunteers later and the idea had both a name and a date on the calendar — the Lakeside Music Festival, May 10-11.  

If you’re a music lover or concertgoer, you’ve probably already heard a little about the event. It began attracting attention and “Likes” on its Facebook page almost immediately.

“We had over 600 Friends/Likes . . . after just one week,” said Jim Dierking, Lakeside committee member, proudly. “Everywhere we go, people want to know the details and what they can do to help.”

That last bit makes everyone on the committee smile.

“It’s typical of Washington being such a volunteer community that everybody wants to help,” said Vince Borgerding, Lakeside committee member.

The committee, which includes members of the Washington Knights of Columbus and the Washington Lions Club, have been able to sign some nationally known and popular musicians to perform:

The Friday night lineup includes John Michael Montgomery, Chase Yaklin and Whiskey Dixon, and Saturday night will feature Foghat, April Wine and Dick & Jane.

Gates will open at 4 p.m. both nights with music beginning at 5 p.m.

Organizers are confident that crowds will number into the thousands, drawing in fans from a 150-mile radius.

Tickets are $20 per night or there is an online special of $30 for both nights.

Tickets are being sold online at or at Downtown Washington Inc. inside the old Downtown post office.

Food and beer will be sold at the festival.

Two Civic Groups, One Fund-Raiser

The Lakeside Music Festival marks the first time two civic groups in Washington have teamed up to host a fund-raiser of this size and members say they are doing it for several reasons.

First, an event of this size requires the sheer manpower that two groups bring.

“Because the overhead — with the lights, sound and everything involved — is so high, we needed to make it a joint venture,” said Rick Hopp, committee member and longtime member of the main stage crew for the Washington Town and Country Fair.

The enormous overhead is also why the committee opted to make it a two-night festival.

“Once you have it set up, you might as well maximize the effort,” said Hopp.

The Knights and the Lions, which donated $50,000 to help build the main stage, were a natural alliance, since there are several people who are members of both groups.

Committee members include:

Knights of Columbus — Dave Dieckhaus, Joe Kopp, Roger Bargen, Tim Poepsel, Darryl Piontek, John Lochirco, Craig Walde, Darrin Lamb, Dave Dobsch, JJ Desmond, Jim Dierking and Bob Elbert;

From the Lions Club — Nick Neihaus, Jared Newman, Rick Hopp, Dennis Hemsath, Todd Geisert and Paul and Nell Redhage; and from both groups — Jeff Patke, Gary Marquart, Vince Borgerding and Jeff Hasting. 

Another reason the two civic groups are working together on the music festival is to encourage the community to look for more ways to use the stage. 

“This (stage) will be good for the whole community, and somebody’s got to get it started,” Borgerding remarked. “It’s a good thing to show the cooperation of the community.”

The committee began meeting in November to plan the festival, and early on things began to fall into place quickly, said Hopp.

“We’ve got a pretty good lineup,” he commented. “We’re very fortunate that it fell into place the way it did.

“Every meeting leading up to the event, the enthusiasm, the momentum is mounting. Everyone is now very relaxed, the sponsors are coming in and both groups are really working together well.”

Dierking expressed the committee’s thanks to the city, the Fair Board and sponsors that stepped forward to support the new festival.

“We want to thank the city for their cooperation, the Fair Board, which has been instrumental in helping us coordinate everything, and all of our sponsors . . . without them, this event would not be possible.

“We also want to thank the Eckelkamp family for the use of their field (next to Big Driver) for a parking lot,” said Dierking.

From the beginning the festival committee has worked closely with the Washington Town and Country Fair Board to ensure that their event didn’t detract in any way from the Fair entertainment. That included selecting a date for the festival, as well as selecting musicians to perform.

All Goes Back to Community

The Lakeside Music Festival is a fund-raiser for both the Lions and the Knights of Columbus. The two groups, which return as much as 98 percent of the money they make on events back to the community through their projects and causes, will split the proceeds evenly.

The Washington Lions Club, founded in 1939, is most well known in the community for its gift of Lions Lake; the annual free lazy eye screenings members provide area children at parenting fairs and also through in-school visits; and the free glaucoma screenings members offer local seniors.

The club also directly pays for vision tests and glasses for children whose families are at the poverty level.

The group uses funds it raises through local events to support these screenings. Members estimate as much as 40 to 50 percent of the Washington Lions Club’s fund-raising proceeds are used to improve people’s vision.

That includes direct payments for people who can’t afford needed surgery for things like cataracts and cornea transplants.

Up until about two years ago, Washington Lions Club members also helped transport donated eye tissue to the Heartland Lions Eye Bank in St. Louis. The hospital staff would remove the tissue, and the Lions members would come in to pick it up and drive it to the bank.

One of the largest Lions clubs in the state of Missouri, the Washington group also has provided street signs around town and shade umbrellas at the Washington pool, sponsored a Little League football team, and contributed to projects like the Washington Farmers’ Market, lighting of the Missouri River bridge and concession stands at Barklage Field.

The Washington Knights of Columbus Father Seisl Council, established in 1906, also is among the largest in the state of Missouri and the world.

They raise more than $25,000 each year through fish fries, a Tootsie Roll drive and other fund-raisers. All of the money is spread out to local charities.

The Knights award scholarships to local students, make donations to four Catholic parishes and are involved in many good causes, like the Adopt-a-Highway program — the Father Seisl Council sponsors two stretches of road.

Since 1984, the council has donated over $1 million to charitable causes.

John Michael Montgomery

Country music star John Michael Montgomery will perform Friday night, May 10, at the Lakeside Music Festival.

Montgomery has turned an uncanny ability to relate to fans into one of country music’s most storied careers. Behind the string of hit records, the roomful of awards and the critical and fan accolades that have defined his phenomenal success lies a connection that goes beyond his undeniable talent and his proven knack for picking hits. 

Since the days when “Life’s a Dance” turned him from an unknown artist into a national star, Montgomery’s rich baritone has carried that most important of assets — believability. Few artists in any genre sing with more heart than this handsome Kentucky-born artist.

It is readily apparent in love songs that have helped set the standard for a generation. Songs like “I Swear,” “I Love the Way You Love Me” and “I Can Love You Like That” still resonate across the landscape. 

It is apparent in the 2004 hit “Letters From Home,” one of the most moving tributes to the connection between soldiers and their families ever recorded, and in “The Little Girl,” a tale of redemption that plumbs both the harrowing and the uplifting. It is apparent even in the pure fun that has always found its way into Montgomery’s repertoire — songs like “Be My Baby Tonight” and “Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident),” where Montgomery’s vocal earnestness takes musical whimsy to another level.

Montgomery was born in Danville, Ky., to parents who imparted a lifelong love of music to him.

“Where most people have chairs and sofas in their living rooms,” laughs John Michael, “we had amplifiers and drum kits.”

The family band played on weekends throughout the area, and John Michael and his brother Eddie eagerly soaked up everything about it.

“To a certain extent,” he says, “my dad always had a natural ability to draw fans and entertain people; I don’t care if it was on the front porch, the living room, or on a stage. I think that transitioned to me and my brother being able to do that on stage.”

Montgomery took over lead singing chores after his parents divorced, and he performed for a while in a band called Early Tymz with Eddie and their friend Troy Gentry. Nashville talent scouts began hearing about and then seeing John Michael perform and by the early ’90s he had a record deal.

The hits followed steadily, with songs like “Rope The Moon,” “If You’ve Got Love,” “No Man’s Land,” “Cowboy Love,” “As Long as I Live,” “Friends” and “How Was I to Know” establishing him as one of the elite acts of the era. 

He received the CMA Horizon award and was named the ACM’s Top New Vocalist, setting off a long series of awards that included the CMA’s Single and Song of the Year, Billboard’s Top Country Artist, and a Grammy nomination. Heavy touring meant he kept the close touch with fans he had begun in the clubs back home.

“You get to know your fans and what they like more and more through the years,” he says, “and you kind of gravitate toward one another.”

Indeed, he has always had an extraordinarily close relationship with his fans, and they have stayed with him through good and bad times.

Just before launching “Time Flies,” John Michael let them know that he was entering treatment to deal with an addiction that was an outgrowth of anxiety and insomnia.

“Luckily, I woke up one day and said, ‘I’ve had enough. I need some help with this thing.’ The hardest thing for most people to do is ask for help. I had felt claustrophobic on the bus to the point where I didn’t want to get on it, and now I enjoy getting on the bus a lot more.”

Asked what he thinks gave him the edge in a career that calls millions but gives stardom to just a few, he pauses, then thinks back to the legacy of his parents.

“I reckon it was good genes and good blood,” he says with a smile. Few who know the depth and breadth of his own growing legacy would disagree.

Chase Yaklin

With a musical heritage that dates back far earlier than his 20 years, Chase Yaklin, another of the Friday night entertainers, is rapidly earning the interest of the Nashville music community with a year under his belt in town. 

Drawing inspiration from family members who have successfully navigated the country music experience, Yaklin finds himself currently living in Nashville and writing songs with some of the most experienced and accomplished tunesmiths in town. 

Grandfather, Jimmy Bryant was a member of Roy Orbison’s groups, The Wink Westerners and The Teen Kings. Leaving music to focus on raising a family, the torch was passed on to the next generation and Yaklin’s two uncles, Junior and Jeff, were founding members of the Texas group The Lariat Band, which would go on to become Ricochet and enjoy success in the mid-’90s. 

Yaklin hails from Orange Grove, Texas, a small town in South Texas near Corpus Christi. An  accomplished guitarist (electric and acoustic) and playing right-handed guitars as a lefty, he brings a unique style and tone to his music. Influences run from Keith Urban to Ray Charles and his goals are to write great songs and to bring them to life with great singing and guitar playing. 

Yaklin was the last songwriter signed by Barbara Orbison to her successful music publishing company, Still Working Music, just prior to her passing in late 2011 and provides a fitting compliment to the legacy of her late husband, Roy Orbison. Yaklin is now working with Orbison’s surviving son, Alex Orbison, and in a partnership with BMG Chrysalis Nashville.


Saturday night’s performer Foghat is well known to the masses. Even if they don’t recognize the name, they likely know the music — especially the group’s trademark hit from the 1970s, “Slow Ride,” which cemented its place as one of the world’s top rock acts.

Foghat’s music has been played on TV shows, in movies, even the video game Guitar Hero.

It all started in the late 1960s, when Roger Earl and Lonesome Dave Peverett first toured America as members of the seminal British band “Savoy Brown.” Together with guitarist Kim Simmonds, “Savoy Brown” was on the cutting edge of the emerging British blues-rock scene, and they influenced countless musicians. 

In 1971, wanting to give a more Rock ’n’ Roll flavor to the blues-boogie music they were playing with “Savoy,” Earl and Peverett enlisted lead/slide guitarist Rod Price and bassist Tony Stevens, to form a new band, “Foghat,” and the rest is part of Rock ’n’ Roll history.

Signed by Albert Grossman to Bearsville Records in 1971, the band recorded its first self-titled LP “Foghat” and began touring relentlessly for the next 14 years. Their hard work has thus far been rewarded with seven gold records, one platinum record “Fool for the City” (1975), and one double-platinum record “Foghat Live” (1977).  

They continued to hit the charts with singles such as “Drivin’ Wheel,” “I Just Wanna Make Love to You,” “I’ll Be Standing By,” “Stone Blue,” “Third Time Lucky” and “Somebody’s Been Sleeping in My Bed,” many of which are still classic rock radio staples.

Foghat toured and recorded nonstop into the mid-’80s. Over the years, band members changed, but in 1994 Foghat returned to the world stage when original members reunited for the recording of “Return of the Boogie Men.” Being back on the road, nonstop, once again yielded a new live CD for the band titled “Road Cases,” released in 1997.

In 2003, the band released a new album, “Family Joules,” which received great reviews. In 2004 they released a live DVD called “The Official Bootleg DVD, Volume 1.” 

“Foghat Live II,” a double live CD was released in 2007. It was recorded in 2005 and 2007 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the original “Foghat Live,” and the reviews were exceptional, opening a new chapter for Foghat. The band was as good as ever and carrying on its tradition of touring and having a great time.

The band released “Live at the Blues Warehouse” in 2009 and again this CD got rave reviews.

The last few years has Foghat reaching a whole new generation of fans largely as a result of its incessant touring and also due to its songs appearing on such popular home video games as Guitar Hero III, numerous movies such as “Dazed & Confused,” “Wild Hogs,” “Bottle Shock” and “Halloween II,” numerous TV shows and ads such as Honda among others.

Foghat’s latest project, a blues CD called “Last Train Home,” is the culmination of a dream shared by Roger Earl and Lonesome Dave.   It brings the band full circle, with an offering that mixes some Foghat blues stamped originals with many blues gems.