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Alma Ice Break festival

ALMA, Wis. -- Guitarist Cam Waters, the Ditch Lilies and the Sue Orfield Band, along with well-known naturalist/ story teller Kenny Salwey, will be among familiar faces at the first Alma Ice Break, a new festival of music and humor.

The festival, designed to focus on all that makes the Upper Mississippi River Valley unique, runs April 25-26 and May 2-3. A complete schedule, which also includes a pool tournament, can be found online at Tickets also can be reserved at

Three performers will present five concerts on opening weekend -- national recording artists Mary Arden Collins, also known as Arden of Eden; singer-songwriter, rap and hip-hop artist Dessa of Doomtree; and roots guitarist/vocalist Cam Waters, a former Red Wing resident who collaborates every summer on the Sheldon Theatre Camp at the YMCA's Camp Pepin.

Today, Dessa will sing at the Red Ram, Waters will appear at Kate and Gracie's, and Arden will take the stage of the Big River Theatre. The Waters concerts at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. are free; admission to the others is $10.

The Big River Radio Wave, an hour-long variety show with performers, themes and topics native to the rural upper Midwest, will be performed at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. April 26. Admission is $10. Featured artists will include the RiverBenders band, comedian Mary Mack, Kenny Salwey and Michael Perry.

  On May 2, the Ditch Lilies will play at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. at Kate and Gracie's, with free admission. The Beef Slough Boys are on tap at the Big River Theatre at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., and the Tommy Bentz Band will play there at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Admission to those shows is $10.