Thousand of campers arrive for Hodag Country Festival in Rhinelander

RHINELANDER, Wis (WSAW) -- The 42nd annual Hodag County Music Festival kicked off on Wednesday in the City of Rheinlander. More than 20,000 people are expected to travel to the Hodag Campgrounds over the next four days to hear several local and regional musicians as they play on the big stage.

“There is music here for everyone,” stated Gerry Van Harpen who is one of the Festival Coordinator. “We have the classics, the legends, the hits, and even the up and comers. I like to tell everyone to attend every show and that they will love it.”

Concerts are scheduled to start on Thursday but people arrive a day early to claim their spots near the pavilion. Unlike most music festivals, seating is not assigned and it doesn’t cost more the closer you are to the stage. The earlier you arrive, the better seating you can get if you participate in a chair lineup.

“I come from a country music background and my family had a band that played here at Hodag,” explained Joanna McCumber who has attended the music festival since it started. This year she attended the concert and brought her oldest granddaughter, Leah Foster.

“This is my first year here and I am excited to see the entire Hodag environment,” said Foster. “I am also glad I am able to experience this with my grandma.”

Majority of the Festival fans enjoy being able to bring in their own food and beverages into the performance area and campgrounds. Many of them tell NewsChannel 7 that’s one of the reasons they come back every year.

“We allow people to bring in whatever they want as long as it’s not glass. added Van Harpen.

The Oneida County Sheriff’s Department says they have a great working relationship with the festival organizers and will have their own tent throughout the event to ensure public safety.