With its brightly-lit signage and large facade, the new Vikings training facility in Eagan is certainly hard to miss. The venue’s first big public festival to welcome the community, however, might be going largely unnoticed.
About 2,000 ticket buyers showed up for opening night of the three-day Summer Skolstice festival Thursday. The Vikings-themed music bash’s kickoff lineup featured two pop stars from the team’s Tommy Kramer era, Rick Springfield and Tommy Tutone, at the 2019 price of $45 to $100 per night.
The concert overtook the field at Twin Cities Orthopedic (TCO) Stadium, where the Vikings will host open practices during training camp starting July 26.
A rain delay kept gates from opening at 6 p.m., but the modest-sized crowd made it through security and down to the stage at the 30-yard line in plenty of time for opening band the Family Stone, featuring one whole member of Sly Stone’s original crew.
A fourth act, Eddie Money, was a no-show, much to the chagrin of some attendees.
“We came to see Eddie,” Doug Beauvais and Stephanie Meyer of Maplewood complained, “but at least there’s beer, and the rain stopped.”
The rain returned just in time for Tutone, who only played for 25 rough minutes with Springfield’s band before wrapping it up with “867-5309 / Jenny.” Many fans in the already meager crowd sang along from way up in the covered concessions area.
“It’s the first day of summer tomorrow, but the sky above apparently didn’t get the message,” Springfield complained after singing “I’ve Done Everything for You” two songs into his set.
Things cleared up in time for Springfield to cover “Two Tickets to Paradise” with Tutone’s help in a tribute to a recuperating Mr. Money, and for “Jessie’s Girl” to end his 75-minute set with touchdown-like revelry just after 10:15 p.m. (It was scheduled till 11.)
Intended to promote the 6,000-seat TCO Stadium and surrounding Viking Lakes development being built for the community at large — and not just for the local NFL team — the event was organized primarily by MV Eagan Ventures, the parent company of Viking Lakes, which is leasing TCO Stadium from the Vikings.
The team did not have to worry about their field being damaged in the soggy weather, since a thick layer of interconnected, hard-plastic mats were protected the grass.
Damage seems unlikely unless many thousands more show up the next two nights of the festival, featuring Sheila E. and Elle King on Friday, or St. Paul & the Broken Bones and Judith Hill on Saturday.
“I think prices were too steep, especially for two guys who had each had a hit in the ’80s,” said Tom Peick, who came anyway because it was just five minutes from his home in Eagan and he’s a fan of “Jessie’s Girl.”
Added Peick’s friend Skyler Gill, “I think it’s an awesome venue for something like this. They just need to advertise it better.”
Privately funded by Vikings team owners Mark and Zygi Wilf, Viking Lakes is includes office, retail and residential facilities.
“We are building a vibrant place to live, work and play,” said Kyle Chank, general manager of Viking Lakes. “Summer Skolstice is the first of many large-scale events that will be activated on our property.”
Looking at the turnout, Springfield superfan Melissa Anderson of Hudson, Wis., theorized, “It must’ve been the rain. Because who wouldn’t want to see Rick Springfield in a great outdoor space like this?”
Staff writer Rochelle Olson contributed to this report.