Cloquet's Wood City Music Festival is a-go

The event will be free and open to the public.

From left: Light45 band members Mark Eidem, Justin Hawley, Scott Bentley and Brian Rudquist play for the first time at Cloquet's Wood City Music Festival on Saturday, Aug. 10. "It is an incredibly happy event where churches put down their barriers and simply have fun together. It is a glimpse of Heaven," Justin Hawley, Light45 lead singer and a founding member said. "We were honored to be a part of it, and we have to mention the volunteers were incredible." Jamie Lund/Pine Journal

After the COVID-19 pandemic canceled last year's event, the Wood City Music Festival is back and set to take place Aug. 14, at Veterans Memorial Park in Cloquet, with a potential lineup of seven artists.

The Christian music festival, hosted by Kingdom Builders Ministries, has become an annual tradition for the Cloquet community since its start in 2014.

“The whole thing is faith," Kingdom Builders board member Lee Harris said.

Harris said he was first called to plan the festival during a group prayer session at the Cloquet House of Prayer in 2013.

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"I felt prompted ... to plan a music festival, and I didn't really want to, but that was kind of what started it all," he said.

After it was decided that there would be a festival, members of the house of prayer worked to determine exactly what type of festival it would be, according to the Wood City Music Festival website . After much thought and prayer, it was decided that there would be absolutely no corporate advertisement at the event — meaning it would be funded solely through donations and fundraisers.

The festival is free to the public and Harris said its budget typically ranges from $65,000 to $75,000. Each year, the financing aspect is a leap of faith, but Harris said they have yet to run into any major funding issues.

"God always finds a way," he said. "It’s not faith if it’s easy."

Planning for the event is done by the Kingdom Builders Ministry board and minsters, with the help of local churches who provide volunteers and donations. Typically, it consists of up to 13 bands playing on two stages, with vendors, a bouncy house and various activities for families.

This year, however, it will only have one stage and seven bands due to a short planning timeframe caused by the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Harris, planning could not start until June, so the board decided keeping things simple was the best course of action.

“It might seem a little less large," he said, adding that with the exception of fewer bands, everything else about the festival will remain the same as in past years.


Besides a time crunch, another major challenge with 2021's festival has been finding volunteers. Typically, the festival receives help from roughly 300 people, according to Harris. This year, he said he's only expecting about 150.

Harris said the lack of volunteers to the fear and isolation is due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Even the most extroverted people that I know … they’ve gotten used to being isolated," he said.

There are currently six artists lined up to perform at the festival, in addition to Kingdom Builders Worship Team. Harris is hoping to find one more in light of a last minute cancellation. He said it is not a matter of who they want to perform, but who God wants to perform.

For questions about how to volunteer for Wood City Music Festival, contact Shelly Donicht at 218-730-3000.

Wood City Music Festival 2021 Line Up:

  • Matt Gilman with Influence Music

  • Wonderstate

  • Bethany Worship

  • Presence Music

  • The Melodious Mike & The Vibes

  • Kingdom Builders Worship

  • Duluth Gospel Tabernacle Worship

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