Local Current Blog

Minnesota’s frozen lake music festival to return for a third year in Otter Tail County

Otter Tail Lake, frozen in 2019. (via Otter Tail Country Tourism Association on Facebook)

For the third straight year, Otter Tail County, Minnesota, will host an quintessential Gopher State event: a music festival on a frozen lake.

Update: The festival will go on as scheduled, but for safety reasons will not be held on ice this year.

Otter Tail County — On Ice! (OTC-On Ice) is a two-day music festival that goes from Jan. 31 to Feb. 1 and takes place under a massive tent on the frozen shore of Otter Tail Lake, a 13,000-acre lake about 190 miles northwest of the Twin Cities. The concert will feature acts from across the state of Minnesota: from up-and-coming country star Patrick Murphy, a Perham native, to Iron Range stalwarts the White Iron Band.

The lineup includes a repeat visit Tigerlily, a country duo that came out of North Dakota and have grown a substantial fanbase in Nashville. Last year’s event featured performances by Tigerlily, The 4onthefloor Band, Aaron Simmons, Pert Near, Sandstone, and Dirt Road Dixie.

The organizers of OTC-On Ice stress that the main function of this festival is to showcase the eclectic nature of Minnesota’s musical arts. According to the event’s media toolkit, “One of the goals of OTC-On Ice is to celebrate and support local music. Many of the artists have ties to Minnesota or neighboring states.”

There will also be a Polar Plunge to support Special Olympics athletes, snowmobiling, an ice fishing contest with $3,000 in cash and prizes, and an assortment of craft beers. If you’re worried about how safe it is to be on the ice, fear not: the event coordinators are monitoring the ice carefully and have contingency plans in place if the ice isn’t thick enough.

Erik Osberg, the event manager for OTC-On Ice, said his goal is to foster a strong relationship with people in and around Otter Tail Lake community. “We would love for this to become a long-standing winter tradition, ” he said. “We want to give locals a reason to come together and celebrate winter. The other goal is to give out-of-towners a reason to come back during the off-season. It can get quiet around here during the winter.”