Two years ago, Andy Beltz and Ryan Rutjes created their record label, Modest Music, in order to give back to charity while fulfilling their love for music. Now, they’re continuing to work toward their dreams by putting on a music festival known as Moonfest.

Their journey started out as just that: a dream.

The two met years ago and began talking about music, their passion for hip hop and how they believe the industry should work to give back instead of merely making money. Since then, they have turned their dreams into reality by creating their own label and hosting many events all around the greater Mankato area to support local musicians and give back to the community.

“Our goal is to give back,” Rutjes said. “We have donated to The REACH Center in Mankato, and much more.”

This year’s Moonfest, set for Sept. 21, will also support The REACH with a small raffle the two have created with donations from area businesses. Raffle items include martial arts lessons, gift cards to restaurants and stores around the Mankato area and more.

“I love to support the music scene we have in Mankato,” said Tanner Peterson, a musician who will perform at the festival. “There’s a lot of really good music here and talent,”

Because of Rutjes’s and Beltz’s love for music and supporting local and lesser-known artists, musicians such as Peterson will be performing on the big stage at this festival to broaden their audience and create new fans.

“I’m most excited about there being a really big stage. This will be one of the biggest crowds I have ever performed in front of,” Peterson said.

This festival will have all types of genres.

“We got blues, reggae, rock and hip hop,” Beltz said.

They will also be surprising fans with their own theatrical bits, similar to last year.

Their goal is to bring more music and entertainment down to Mankato so people don’t need to drive all the way to the Twin Cities to see their favorite artists.

“We’re trying to bring more down to the area. Our goal is to eventually get bigger headliners,” Rutjes said.

The festival’s lineup includes Good Night Gold Dust, Nearvana, Alec John & TheSkySurfers Rellium prime and more. Rutjes and Beltz are especially excited for this year’s headliners.

“We have one from North Dakota called Kashy and another from South Dakota called Denham,” Rutjes said.

These two artists are more widely known across the region. The audience may even notice that their songs are a bit more familiar as they play on the radio from time to time.

Although their goal is to get bigger and to attract more people and more established artists to Mankato, Beltz and Rutjes say they have a passion for helping local artists of all sorts and hope to continue to bring these acts in for years to come.

This year’s Moonfest is the biggest it has ever been with food vendors, games, local artists selling their products, music and more. The event will take place outside.

Rutjes and Beltz are also bringing in lights to surround the area and their own sound system so audiences can expect great quality.

“I think everyone in Mankato that can go should go because it’s a very new festival to Mankato. It can also help support local business. It’s something really exciting for Mankato,” Peterson said.

The music festival starts in the afternoon and lasts throughout the evening.

“Even if someone can’t make it that night, they can come early in the afternoon. There will be music all day,” Peterson said.

Food options will also be available onsite for festival-goers.

“We have Evan’s Eatery. Evan’s was there last year and almost sold his entire truck. We’re also having a new barbecue startup truck called S&B BBQ.”

The festival will also have a free shuttle bus running all night on the hour between Miller Motors and The Blue Moon Bar and Grill in Kasota to help festival-goers avoid drinking while driving, and to assist with parking.

The shuttle ride is about 10 minutes and drops people off right at the festival.

More information on the music festival’s lineup and tickets can be found online on the Moonfest Facebook page (@MoonfestMN) or online at

“I hope that I see every face in Mankato and potentially Saint Peter,” Peterson said. “It’s a cool dream that Modest Music is chasing after.”

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