I don’t believe that Jillian Nodland and Joe Alton, who as volunteers would become the driving forces behind Prairie Burn Music Festival, had never met before our first planning meeting back in October of 2014.
Little did we know the magic they would create.
Joe, the Editor in Chief at the Growler Magazine and a former Camp St. Croix staff member, dreams big and wants the full picture. He’s bold and direct. His first question, before the appetizers even arrived at that first meeting, was directed at Stephanie Lentz and me (the staff whose job it is to channel these people’s expertise). He said, “okay, close your eyes both of you. No peeking. On three I want you to open your eyes and say who you want to see headlining Prairie Burn in three years’ time.” We both said Charlie Parr, who actually joined us in 2016, a year ahead of schedule.
Jillian runs the Picture Factory, a production outfit that has filmed the Olympics, the World Cup, and was the Minnesota producer for Charlize Theron’s Young Adult. She became connected with Camp through her son, a St. Croix camper. Jillian’s intelligence and foresight absolutely are what have turned the Prairie Burn dream into a reality. Jillian asked her first question immediately after Stephanie and I responded to Joe. Hers was, “Okay, before we get there though, do we have a rough budget for what we are trying to do?”
Over the past two years, under their leadership, Prairie Burn grew to be the most highly attended YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities event; 3000 people joined in the fun in 2016. Because of them we’ve raised nearly $50,000 for camp endowments, which means that kids will be coming to camp for years and years to come because of their efforts.
During our debrief of Prairie Burn 2016, Joe and Jillian responded without hesitation that yes, they were committed to Prairie Burn and wanted to continue to make it happen. The two of them have two years of working together under their belts and we can’t wait to see what the future will hold.
This year Prairie Burn Music Festival will take place on September 16th. As in years past it will be an amazingly fun day out for the whole family with great music, games, camp activities, food, and drink. Tickets will go on sale on April 12th at www.ymcamn.org/prairieburn. We’d love for you to join us.