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A preliminary guide to the Twin Cities summer music festivals – Borangutan
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A preliminary guide to the Twin Cities summer music festivals

April 28th, 2010
Author: Mike

We may not have any of the big destination mega-festivals like Coachella, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, or Austin City Limits, but here in the Twin Cities we definitely don’t skimp on putting together great local/national music festivals in the summer. The past few weeks saw lineup announcements for several outdoor Twin Cities events, with many more yet to be fully unveiled. Here’s a quick rundown of what we’ve seen and heard so far:


Hoolie Fest: May 14th-16th
Coinciding with the annual Art-A-Whirl Open Studio & Gallery Tour in Northeast Minneapolis, the brand-new Hoolie Fest brings together a lineup of about 70 (!) local artists over a 3-day period for free shows both inside & outside at Shuga Records. Oh, and did you notice that The Goondas are on the bill? We did…

Lyn Lake Street Festival: May 16th
Another event kicking off the summer season quite early (the weather has been beautiful, so why not!) is the Lyn Lake Street Festival on Sunday, May 16th. Native Minnesotan and underwear-donning Har Mar Superstar will headline along with performances by Sims (+Lazerbeak and Mictlan of Doomtree), Mark Mallman, E.L.nO., and The Mood Swings. This one’s free and kicks off at noon, so shake off your Saturday night hangover before you shake your booty with Har Mar.
(Photo by Ryan Rickett)

Memory Lanes Block Party: May 29th & 30th
Memorial Day weekend brings the Memory Lanes Block Party, a free two-day event on Saturday the 29th and Sunday the 30th that starts in the parking lot during the day and ends indoors on the alley’s lanes at night. A great mix of newer & older local favorites can be found on the bill for both shows, including Chooglin’; No Bird Sing; Halloween, Alaska; The Evening Rig; & many more.

Soundset: May 30th
It’s the undisputed premier hip hop festival in Minnesota. Soundset takes place at Canterbury Park and brings together members of local hip hop collectives (i.e., Rhymesayers, Doomtree, etc.) and many more artists alongside national acts. This year’s national acts include Method Man & Redman, Del The Funky Homosapien, and more. Collaborations may abound, and with P.O.S. also just fresh off a performance at Coachella, local anticipation will likely be at a fever-pitch. Atmosphere sits atop the bill once again as well.

Grand Old Day: June 6th
Touted as the largest one-day festival in the midwest, Grand Old Day is St. Paul’s way to kick off summer in style to the tune of 7 stages and 250,000+ visitors to a several-block stretch of Grand Avenue. This year’s lineup is arguably one of the best I’ve ever seen; it’s basically inevitable that I won’t be able to see some of many acts I’d love to see such as Ari Herstand, Roster McCabe, Catchpenny, Red Pens, The Melismatics, Mark Mallman, or The Von Bondies (featuring Christy and Charles from Ouija Radio) due to concurrent sets on separate stages. Minnesota-connected Free Energy (featuring former members of Hockey Night) is also on the bill as well. The festival is free & all ages but you’ll need a $10 wristband to get closer access to the stages, which are also the 21+ beer gardens.

Rock The Garden: June 19th
The Walker Art Center and The Current are the primary forces behind Rock The Garden, a nationally-oriented festival held at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden that’s expected to draw somewhere around 15,000-20,000 people. MGMT is headlining with support from Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, OK Go, and Duluth’s Retribution Gospel Choir. Note: This festival is already sold out? Wow. Better hit the scalper circuit if you want tickets; they were $40 on The Current’s website.

Stone Arch Festival: June 19th & 20th
Father’s Day weekend means it’s time for the Stone Arch Festival at St. Anthony Main. The free festival typically features an eclectic lineup of local bands to go with the eclectic array of local artists, and this year is no exception. Tip: Go check out Joey Ryan & The Inks on Saturday; they absolutely rocked it at last year’s Stone Arch Festival as well.

Taste of Minnesota: July 2nd-5th
Held on Harriet Island and arguably the biggest summer music festival in the Twin Cities, the Taste of Minnesota has been going for nearly 30 years. The formerly-free festival has recently taken to charging admission (tickets are rumored to cost around $20-$30 a day) but this year’s lineup will probably make it worth the money if you’re like me and absolutely stoked to see bands like 311 and The Offspring together on 7/5. Other acts are still TBA, but you’ll already find the likes of Minus The Bear, Sammy Hagar, and Counting Crows among this year’s main stage lineup. There will be 4 additional stages featuring more acts (including locals) as well.

Basilica Block Party: July 9th & 10th
Another nationally-oriented festival that’ll cost you a pretty penny to check out. But I think the Basilica Block Party (located on the outskirts of downtown and basically within shouting distance of Rock The Garden) scored big-time by landing Weezer as one of their main stage headliners. The other main stage headliner and many more acts are TBA; but other acts already announced include Spoon, Ingrid Michaelson, and The Avett Brothers. Note: The band competition has been greatly diminished; after a lengthy battle-of-the-bands tournament between competing local bands, the top two formerly used to score opening slots on the #2 Church Stage. Now the winners will be pushed down to the #3 Happy Hour stage, which is basically just a tent as far as I understand… Update: It looks like they’ve realized the error of their ways.
RSVP on Facebook: Day 1 Day 2

Other festivals to keep an eye out for:

June
Uptown Pride Block Party (Bryant & Lake)

July
Minneapolis Aquatennial (Downtown)

August
Pizza Lucé Block Party (Uptown)
Red Stag Supper Club Block Party (Northeast)

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  • more A preliminary guide to the Twin Cities summer music festivals

posted April 28th, 2010 at 4:14 pm Concert Announcements, MN Rock

  1. April 29th, 2010 at 14:33 | #1

    I just need to drop some props here for a ridiculously cool post! This information is stellar – definitely marking my calendar.

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