Sixteen years ago, on a field near Nevis, friends and bands converged to dance under the stars at Nate Decker's invitation.
About 350 arrived for the premier Ror Schach event. Decker, intrigued by musical interpretation, named the festival after Hermann Rorschach, the Swiss psychologist who developed the renowned "what-do-you-see?" inkblot test.
In this case, "hear?"
A year later, in 1995, the fest gaining momentum, the Hubbard County Fairgrounds became the site for "getting friends and bands together." Two stages held the 17 bands performing before an audience of 3,500.
Ror Schach's 14 bands engaged audience members on two stages again in 1996. But for the third year, it rained. "Particularly bad downpours," Decker recalled. He put the galoshes and umbrella in the closet.
Now the hiatus is over.
The Ror Schach Music Fest will be reborn Saturday, July 28 on the fairgrounds, with art added to the activities.
After 15 years in Minneapolis, Decker has returned to home turf, greeted with questions on Ror Schach's revival. While in the metro, he'd met people who'd been at the original festivals.
"I have fond memories," said Nate Luetgers, who saw the original event as a teen.
Luetgers, an art instructor, is coordinating the Ror Schach visual entertainment - without psychological interpretation.
"I hold it dear," Luetgers said of memories of the '90s fests. "It left an impression. It was inspiration to start a band."
Twenty-one bands, artists and writers will arrive for the festival, with musical entertainment running from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. on three stages at the fairgrounds.
A range of musical genres will be represented - from rock to blues, rap to country, punk to metal. Art activities will entertain kids at the event.
Performers, Decker said, are donating their time. "If there's a profit, we all profit." He's soliciting sponsors for the fest, which he anticipates will become an annual affair.
In the 1990s, the shows were geared to teens and young adults, Decker said. "Now it's a community venture. Everyone is invited to come and enjoy," said the singer and bass player with Small Town Fugitives.
Food, beer and soft drinks will be sold. Art activities will entertain all ages. Tattoos, jewelry, fire twirlers and belly dancing lessons for kids are on the docket. Kids' fun concludes when evening falls.
Camping will be available at the fairgrounds. "Our goal is to draw out-of-towners," Decker said.
Ticket prices are $17 in advance, $25 at the gate. Kids enter for $5. They are available at Terrapin Station in Nevis, The Music Shop on Main and online.
Head to www.rorschach musicfest.com to listen to the bands.
A retired circus tent will appear on the fairgrounds, where bands will perform in the event of rain.
But rain or shine, it's a go.