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Minnesota Music SCENE: Summer Festivals

April 26, 2018

People like to talk about the weather, and perhaps this is due to ‘weather’ being the one thing we are all experiencing at the same degree … Fahrenheit.

Bad puns aside, I’ll admit that I share in the opinion that this winter, in its entirety, has sucked a metric **** ton. One could simply dwell on how many days they’ve spent cooped up, staring out the window, brow furrowed, wondering how many more times they’ll nearly throw their back out shoveling, and then watch the snow plow block the driveway as it goes by. As an alternative, I’d like to offer solace in the fact that beautiful, sunny, and disgustingly hot weather is well on its way, along with some of Minnesota’s most entertaining outdoor activities. Many of which, are music festivals.

Commonly held outdoors, music festivals are gatherings often lasting two or more days with a generalized theme or genre. Sometimes even camping is available. I’ve compiled a small list of opportunities set to occur this summer 2018.

Revival Music Festival in Geneva on May 25th-27th: Pack your tent for a weekend amongst the oak trees for music at Harmony Park. With sets from Phil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band, The Big Wu, and Leftover Salmon near the shores of Lake Geneva, this one is sure to be a good time. If camping isn’t your cup of tea, day passes are also available.

Soundset at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds on May 27th and 28th: Rhymesayers & Rose present a hip-hop music festival that will feature artists like Logic, Atmosphere, Erykah Badu, Prof, and many others over Memorial Weekend. This is an all-ages experience that will occur at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds on the Midway, and will include other family friendly activities.

Rock the Garden at the Walker Art Museum on June 16th: Out on the lawn of the Walker Art Museum, this music festival has hosted groups such as The Flaming Lips, Bon Iver, and Bruise Violet in past years. These event planners like to keep the acts a secret until two days before general public tickets go on sale. Stay on your toes and catch the line up on 89.3 The Current at 9 a.m. April 10th.

The Basilica Block Party in Minneapolis on July 6: The Basilica Block Party serves as a fundraiser for the restoration of the Basilica of Saint Mary. Five percent of sales benefit Catholic charity St. Vincent de Paul. Check out acts from Cake to Borns to Fitz and the Tantrumz to the Revolution to Third Eye Blind at this two-day gathering.

Bayfront Reggae & World Music Festival in Duluth on July 21st: This event celebrates diversity and heritage pride is welcome with open arms. They’ll be there, rain or shine. While this is yet another event that has not yet announced a line up, you can look up past appearances from Ugochi, Indika, and Wayne Wonder, among others.

WE Fest in Detroit Lakes on August 2nd-4th: Two days of country music. This one has been labeled the world’s largest camping and country festival. With big names like Jason Aldean, Carrie Underwood, and Florida Georgia Line, you really can’t go wrong. Bring the essentials, because you’ll want to spend all your time dancing with your friends.

Riverbend Music Fest in Owatonna August 24th and 25th: A 21+ event, which hosts camping, cold brews, and a collection of music from Them Pesky Kids, Mark Stone and the Dirty Country Band, Copperhead Creek, and the list goes on. As a Southern Minnesota native, this one will be worth supporting.

In Minnesota, summer isn’t just a season; it’s a celebration of reawakening.  Many spend months on end wrapped up like a pathetic burrito or doing our best not to lose appendages in attempts to get outside, despite dangerous temperatures. While this cold weather season seems to be trudging on relentlessly, summer will eventually grace us with outdoor activities that are sure to warm an icy soul. (Maybe I’m speaking for myself there).

The point is to get as much out of summer as humanly possible and cram it into the estimated three months of gorgeous weather we do have. Make a point of visiting any one of these exciting, local events right here in our home territory and you won’t regret it. Musical bliss is just a hop, skip, and maybe one more bout of shoveling away.


By Rian Dicke-Michels

SouthernMinn Scene | |
115 5th Street West Northfield, MN 55057