The 5th annual Blue Ox Festival kicks off Thursday

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- The 5th annual Blue Ox Festival kicked off Thursday with a big name lineup and plenty of family friendly activities.

Festival goers say that the event is all about having a good time in a laid back environment. Gary Bruns echoes this sentiment.

"This festival is a family friendly event and it still draws pretty big acts, but it feels like a close knit community”, Bruns said. We get to know our camping neighbor and our kids become friends. It’s all about camaraderie, connecting with like-minded people, and having some good entertainment."

Festival host and band member of Pert Near Sandstone, Kyle Kniebel, says it is the music that brings people together.

"This kind of music really brings people together and cuts across generations as much as it does genres”, Kniebel said. “There's people who maybe haven’t listened to this kind of music before that when they come to a festival like this, the spirit kind of moves them."

Fellow festival host and band member, Nate Sipe, details what makes the Blue Ox Festival unique.

"I think it’s really unique to the area”, Sipe said. “We bring in these premiere bands that travel around the country as well as local bands that are from the area as well as Minnesota and other regions. It is almost like a family reunion each year and it is very family friendly as well. We have activities for kids, activities for adults, and it’s really just trying to be a comfortable at camp environment."

For more information about the festival and its lineup, click here.