One fan calms down the crowd after learning that Warrant’s Saturday set had to end due to nearby lightning strikes. (Jensen Edwards/Grand Forks Gazette)

CannaFest 2019: 50 years of rock ‘n’ roll

The fifth annual music festival had bands for young and old

The fifth and final edition of CannaFest rocked Grand Forks for three days last week, showcasing a lineup of talent that spanned more than half a century of debut albums.

On Friday night, Vancouver band Marianas Trench attracted arguably the youngest front-row audience of any act at the festival, but gained many new fans sitting in their lawn chairs further away, waiting for the classics to appear. Marianas Trench, who put out their first album in 2006, were followed by legends of surf rock, The Beach Boys. By comparison, the latter band’s debut album started spinning on listeners’ turntables in 1962.

Saturday’s acts and fans pushed through pouring rain and 30-minute breaks for thunder storms to close out the weekend. Though Snake Oil and Warrant’s sets were cut short by the threat of lightning, Snake Oil kept the devotees singing and dancing late after final act Bret Michaels had wrapped up his show.

Though 2019 was the last year of CannaFest, festival coordinator Chuck Varabioff said that he has partnered with Kiss legend Gene Simmons to rebrand the Grand Forks music weekend into “Titans of Rock.” Under the new name, organizers hope that they can continue to grow the festival to attract bigger bands.

 

Cheap Trick’s duelling guitars, Elvis covers and original 70s rock left the crowd with raspy voices on Friday night. (Jensen Edwards/Grand Forks Gazette)

Cheap Trick’s duelling guitars, Elvis covers and original 70s rock left the crowd with raspy voices on Friday night. (Jensen Edwards/Grand Forks Gazette)

More than 50 years after bursting onto the pop music stage with The Beach Boys, singer Mike Love’s nasal harmonies are still unmistakable. (Jensen Edwards/Grand Forks Gazette)

Young rockers found energy with Marianas Trench. (Jensen Edwards/Grand Forks Gazette)

Young rockers found energy with Marianas Trench. (Jensen Edwards/Grand Forks Gazette)

Thursday night headliner Vince Neil of Mötley Crüe gets the crowd clapping. (Jensen Edwards/Grand Forks Gazette)

Great White’s Mitch Malloy belts out a tune on the opening day of CannaFest 2019. (Jensen Edwards/Grand Forks Gazette)

Great White’s Mitch Malloy belts out a tune on the opening day of CannaFest 2019. (Jensen Edwards/Grand Forks Gazette)

Metal rocker Lita Ford shreds at CannaFest on Friday. (Nathan Vogel/Submitted)

It’s safe to say that voices were a little weaker on Sunday morning, after three days of singing at CannaFest. (Nathan Vogel/Submitted)

Young rockers found energy with Marianas Trench. (Jensen Edwards/Grand Forks Gazette)

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