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Shellabration team keeps bringing the hits

FD enjoys concerts usually only found in big cities

Jim Reed, of Fort Dodge, has a unique gift.

Perhaps unlike anybody else, he can look at a downtown intersection and envision a few thousand people there enjoying a country music concert. In fact, he and his team at Shellabration Inc. are about to pull off such a concert at Central Avenue and Ninth Street on Oct 2 with none other than Randy Houser as the headliner for the Downtown Country Jam.

That show will take place about three months after the same team put on a July 2 concert at Harlan and Hazel Rogers Sports Complex featuring two classic rock giants, 38 Special and Cheap Trick. That concert attracted between 6,400 and 6,500 people from 20 states. Those are attendance figures one might expect in a much bigger city.

No one on the Shellabration Inc. team is a professional concert promoter. They all have regular jobs in the community. When it comes to planning concerts, they put their energy and unrestrained enthusiasm to work, supported by lessons learned from organizing events dating back nearly 20 years.

The Shellabration Inc. saga began in 2002, when Reed and then City Councilman John Hale organized a concert to raise money for the restoration of the Oleson Park Bandshell. That concert featured The Fab Four, a Beatles tribute band.

That was the first of several fundraising concerts the duo organized to pay for the bandshell project. Shows by Three Dog Night, The Doobie Brothers, Chicago and other huge names followed.

After the bandshell project was finished, the group set aside proceeds from concerts to help pay for the next one.

Then in 2017, a new genre of music was added with the Downtown Country Jam.

Along the way, the makeup of the Shellabration Inc. team changed. Hale moved away from the community. Others, like Ted Bodensteiner and Craig Schlienz, joined.

But the end result has always remained the same: high energy concerts by big name performers that one would not really expect to see in a city the size of Fort Dodge.

Thanks to Reed and his team, Fort Dodge is treated to great live music.

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