List of Bands that Have Played Head of the Lakes Fair in Superior

The Head of the Lakes Fair is an annual tradition in Superior. The weekend event usually features bands performing on a stage in the center of the Superior Speedway. Often the headliner is a major touring act that is a bit past its prime. Below is a scattered list of bands that have played the festival. Because … nostalgia.

Audio Pilot (July 14, 2018)
A Girl’s Journey (July 13, 2018)
The Most Wanted (July 12, 2018)
The Circuit Breakers (July 11, 2018)
Drop Tailgate (July 15, 2017)
A Girl’s Journey (July 14, 2017)
The Bugs (July 13, 2017)
Hell Country Truckers (Aug. 27, 2016)
Cherry Gun with Sherwin Linton and Cotton Kings (Aug. 26, 2016)
Shirts and Skins with Brody Olson Band (Aug. 25, 2016)
The Georgia Satillites with Rock-a-Billy Review (July 15, 2011)
Pure Prairie League with the Bugs (July 14, 2011)
Survivor with Crescent Moon (July 16, 2010)
Danielle Peck with Half Past 6 (July 25, 2009)
Lovin’ Spoonful with the Bugs (July 24, 2009)
Cracker (July 25, 2008)
Rodney Atkins (July 28, 2007)
Blue Oyster Cult (July 27, 2007)
Little River Band (July 29, 2006)
Jamie O’Neal (July 28, 2006)
Brenda Lee ( July 26, 2003)
Loverboy (July 27, 2002)
Blackhawk (July 26, 2002)
John Kay & Steppenwolf (July 28, 2001)
Trace Adkins (July28, 2000)
Soul Asylum (July 31, 1999)
Tracy Lawrence (July 30, 1999)
The Smithereens (Aug. 1, 1998)
Toby Keith (July 31, 1998)
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts (Aug. 15, 1987)
“Weird Al” Yankovic (Aug. 9, 1985)
Merle Haggard (August 1984)
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (August 1984)
Booze Brothers Revue (August 1984)
The Tanglefoot (July 26-29, 1978)

Bands that have purportedly played the festival, but no one can pin a date to:

Loverboy (in addition to the 2002 show, there was maybe one pre-2000)
Jefferson Starship or Airplane (1997?)
Firehouse (1995?)
Foreigner (1993?)
Eddie Money (1992?)
REO Speedwagon (1987? 1991? 1992?)
Winger (1992?)
John Kay & Steppenwolf (in addition to 2001, there might have been a second show circa 1990)
Cheap Trick (1986?)
Mitch Ryder (1985?)
Charlie Pride (1985?)
Mickey Gilley (1980s?)
Eddie Rabbit (1980s?)
Molly Hatchett
Charlie Daniels Band
Randy Travis

If you’ve got others to add to the list, or dates, anecdotes or photos, well, that’s what the comment section is for.



about 3 years ago

I believe you have the Foreigner year correct.  I am pretty sure REO Speedwagon was somewhere in the 91-92 range.

Also, if I remember correctly, Weird Al actually played two shows on that date.  One in the afternoon, one in the evening.

I have a cowbell that I had Blue Oyster Cult sign for me at the 2007 show.

JP Rennquist

about 3 years ago

REO Speedwagon was '89 or '90. I have a story about it that relates to getting drunk in the parking lot and an errant juice box. I remember it by my summer job because of who I went with. I guess there's a chance it was '88. Definitely not '91 or '92.


about 3 years ago

REO was definitely at least 90.  So if not 91 or 92, then definitely 90.

JP Rennquist

about 3 years ago

'90 could be right. I feel like we need a ruling from a judge on this one.


about 3 years ago

There definitely was one of the Steppenwolf incarnations in the late 80s or early 90s.  Don't remember which year for sure, but I know I was there.

Heath Ashby

about 3 years ago

Smash Mouth canceled in 1998 and was replaced by The Smithereens.


about 3 years ago

I know I saw .38 Special at the fair. Could they have opened for REO in '90?

T. Heinonen

about 3 years ago

I seem to recall that Merle Haggard performed in the early 80s and was pleased that he had included a mandolin hero of mine "Tiny Moore" with his band that year. Merle was doing a Bob Wills Western Swing set at each performance then. Played twin fiddles with Tiny as well as Tiny playing his 5-string Bigsby Electric mandolin.

Mitch Awlson

about 3 years ago

I went to the fair back in the '80s and Mickey Gilley was there and I think Eddie Rabbit was there too.

JP Rennquist

about 3 years ago

Girl from North Country, 

I don't think .38 Special opened for them mainly because I don't remember seeing them. But, then again, I was hammered. I am still pretty stuck on the late 80s. But I would say 90 is possible. I don't think it was '91 or '92 unless that was a repeat performance. 

There is an REO Speedwagon fansite with all of their tours and set lists from the last 40 years. But unfortunately it is incomplete. They don't list any appearances at the fair or in Superior, WI. So that was a dead end. I'm afraid we might have to dig through old microfilm of the Superior Telegram or DNT to get to the bottom of it.


about 3 years ago

Jefferson Starship was around that time. My kids were young and I heard someone playing "Crown of Creation" and went into the stadium to see ... and my heart sank as there seemed like only about 100 people there. What a contrast to my experience seeing them at Wall Stadium (another raceway) in New Jersey in 1972 when the entire place was packed like sardines and rockin' like a mini-Woodstock.

Matt Hill

about 2 years ago

I saw Grass Roots, Restless Heart, Badfinger sometime between 2006 and 2014.

Check out the fair website on might help find more

Paul Lundgren

about 6 months ago

The fair featured a "famous airplane stunt flyer" in 1920.


One of the big feature attractions of the Tri-State fair, which will run in Superior from Aug. 30 to Sept. 3, will be the airplane stunts by Lieut. Amundsen on Monday and Tuesday. Amundsen Is one of the trick flyers of the school of the famous Locklear, who met his death recently while working In a movie production. Amundsen is advertised to pull one stunt which, so far as known, is his own combination, namely a jump from one airplane to another, and from the second a leap to the ground via the parachute route. This is one of the free attractions of the fair.
And from the Aug. 28, 1920 Duluth Herald:
Allie I. Woosters Girl Jockeys Shown in Action. Twelve great outdoor stunts, all of which may be included in a list of major acts, the same as great circuses and hippodrome shows feature, are on the daily program at the Tri-State fair at Superior, dates of which are Aug. 30, 31 and Sept. 1, 2, 3. Undoubtedly the most sensational act of all is the one in which Lieut. Amundsen, American ace, who distinguished himself in the air over the battle areas of France, jumps from one plane to another while both planes are l,000 feet in the air. After he has done the superlative and miraculous act of changing planes, he goes further and leaps from the second plane dropping like a meteor several hundred feet and then his paracute opens up and he floats gently to the ground. This sensational act is booked for the first two days of the fair only -- Monday and Tuesday. Daring Girl Jockeys. An attraction at the fair that always makes a big hit is Allie T. Wooster, with his string of thoroughbred race horses and girl jockeys. The lady riders do every known and approved stunt that can be done in horsemanship. They give exhibitions of Roman standing races, half-mile dashes, three-mile relay races and many others and one lone horse, riderless and driverless, races an automobile for one mile. The Ben Hassan troupe of Arabians will be there and demonstrate that they are what they are advertised to be, the fastest tumblers in the universe. Supt. Leslie G. Ross, in charge of amusements, gives assurance that the people will marvel at the excellence of the fireworks program which is booked for all five nights of the fair. The battle of the Merrimac and the Monitor will be staged every night, in fireworks, on a scale of magnificence such as has never been seen at any fair, except the very largest state fairs. All the features for the week, except the Lieut. Amundsen change of planes in mid-air, are booked for the entire five days. The claim is made for the entire free attraction program at the fair that it is by far the greatest that has ever been seen in the Northwest, except at one state fair.

Paul Lundgren

about 5 months ago

Newspaper ad for the 1978 fair.

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