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Where to check out the hottest outdoor concerts in Minnesota

July 3, 2018

If you’re looking to hit up an outdoor concert this summer, you’re in luck. Whether you live in northern, southern or central Minnesota, the state has you covered when it comes to live music in outdoor venues.

Check out our list of some options below, which has every type of music from country and rock to cover bands and folk – all of it outdoors.

Basilica Block Party
Since 1995, the Basilica Block Party has been home to one of the largest outdoor concert venues in Minneapolis. With acts like Fitz and the Tantrums and Delta Rae, this year’s audience is sure to be packed.

The Basilica Block Party offers three stages of music on Friday, July 6 and Saturday, July 7. General admission tickets include all stages, food and Silent Disco access.

Music on July 6 includes:
Great Clips Stage: Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, John Butler Trio, Delta Rae and TABAH.
PreferredOne Stage: Fitz and the Tantrums, The Revolution and Now, Now.
Star Tribune Stage: Lady Lark, Kid Dakota and Lena Elizabeth.

Music on July 7 includes:
Great Clips Stage: CAKE, Borns, Third Eye Blind and Flint Eastwood.
PreferredOne stage: Andy Grammer, Judah and the Lion and Early Eyes
Star Tribune Stage: Reina del Cid, the Shackletons and Lazy Scorsese

Find more information at

Music at the Zoo:
Dubbing themselves as the soundtrack of your summer, the Minnesota Zoo has a lofty lineup of musical artists that will take the stage at the Weesner Family Amphitheater now through Aug. 27. With more than 30 acts, there is bound to be a day for nearly everyone’s musical taste. As a bonus feature, you can go early and spend a few hours walking the state’s most expansive zoo!

2018 season:
7/2 Black Violin
7/3 Yonder Mountain Spring Band
7/11 St. Paul and the Broken Bones with Hiss Golden Messenger
7/13 Mary Chapin Carpenter
7/15 The Jayhawks
7/23 Joe Jackson
7/25 Guster with Van William
7/28 Rufus Wainwright
8/4 Jerry Jeff Walker
8/10 Marc Cohn
8/11 The Mavericks
8/12 The Mavericks
8/13 Son Volt
8/14 Blackberry Smoke and II Grey and Mofro
8/19 The Okee Dokee Brothers
8/25 Michael Franti and Spearheadwith AHI and HIRIE
8/27 Ziggy Marley

For more information visit

Bayfront Festival Park
If you’re heading up the North Shore this summer, you’ll want to take a detour to the Bayfront Festival Park in Duluth. With the waters of Lake Superior just beyond the stage, you can see some of your favorite acts from yesterday and today! What could be better?

7/3 Hairball
7/6 Bone Thugs-N-Harmo
7/7 Trampled by Turtles
7/12 Chase Rice with Cody Johnson and Abby Anderson
7/20 ReaderFest featuring Cloud Cult
7/21 Bayfront Reggae and World Music Festival

For more information visit

Lakefront Music Fest
If you’re in the mood for live music with a water scene but don’t want to travel up north, check out the Lakefront Music Fest in Prior Lake. The festival offers general admission and VIP ticket packs.

Friday, July 13: Openers COIN and The Revivalists. Headliner: Young the Giant.
Saturday, July 14: Openers: Chris Hawkey and Thompson Square. Co-headliners: Gretchen Wilson featuring special guest Jessie G and Hunter Hayes.

For more information visit

Ribfest Mankato
Perhaps the most popular outdoor concert series in southern Minnesota belongs to Ribfest Mankato. Situated along the banks of the Minnesota River, the four-day concert series takes place at the Vetterstone Amphitheater in old town Mankato.

Concerts begin on Thursday, Aug. 2 and run through Sunday, Aug. 5, but that’s not all. Award-winning rib chefs from across the country gather at Riverfront Park to provide a tasty backdrop to the concerts, so go with an appetite.

Thursday, Aug. 2: John Michael Montgomery with the Chris Hawkey band.
Friday, Aug. 3: Bret Michaels with Arch Allies
Saturday, Aug. 4: Sugar Ray with Tonic

For more information visit

Iconic Fest
With a large majority of Minnesotan’s flocking to Brainerd in the summer, it makes sense that the popular cabin-destination city hosts their own outdoor music fest.

Hosted at the Green Lantern nine miles west of Brainerd, Iconic Fest is an annual two-day outdoor music festival featuring artists of the ’70s-’90s.

Friday, July 6
Shalo Lee Band
The Fortunate Sons — C.C.R. Tribute
The Bellamy Brothers

Saturday, July 7
Coyote Wild
Johnny Lee
Mark Chesnutt

For more information visit


By Anna Vangsness

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