Events Posts

Sonofmel at Earth Rider after the Rhizomes and Poliça

It was a busy weekend in Duluth, despite the rain that postponed the Fourth of July events.

Saturday I missed the Rhizomes, who played in Two Harbors. Crankily, I have decided that I will only be indoors in places with cavernous, flowing air, until the pandemic has subsided. (For more information about the pandemic that is still going on, no matter how many people you see walking around without masks, visit the Minnesota Dashboard. We’re doing okay — COVID hospitalizations are definitely flat, but variants are increasingly resistant to the vaccine.)

Perfect Duluth Day Outdoor Summer Concert Primer 2022

Charlie Parr performing outside Wussow’s Concert Cafe in the spring of 2021.

The noticeable change in recent years to the outdoor concert scene in the Duluth area is the extension of the season. It used to be a mid-June to mid-September thing. In the pandemic era the patios and canopies of the region host music from April to November. But things still kick into high gear in July and August.

What’s hot on stages this summer? Here’s a summary.

I love you Homegrown but I can’t do this anymore!

I played my first Homegrown when I was seventeen. My high school band opened for Coyote at Teatro Zuccone. It was the first sold out show of my music career. I got to share a green room with THE Jerree Small. I got an artist pass on a cool lanyard that let me into any all-ages show (and a few 21+ shows too). I felt like I was on the edge of something. I felt grown up and I felt seen. At the time, it seemed like that feeling was coming from my artist pass, free T-shirt, and (maybe) $50 cheque. Looking back, I understand that what I actually experienced was membership and pride in a community of practice for the first time in my young life. Homegrown gave me an invaluable jumping off point as an artist in this city. It made me proud to be from Duluth and proud of my peers and mentors for choosing to make music here. It opened Duluth to me and deepened my relationship to community and to music. That experience kept me coming back through the years and and through my development as an artist. I’m grateful for it and I always will be, but like many artists in this town my relationship to the festival has become a bit complicated.

Homegrown on Almanac North

The Homegrown Music Festival returns to in-person concerts this year, running May 1-8. WDSE-TV‘s Almanac North program reports on what the Twin Ports has been missing the past two years.

Chickenbone George holds court

“Chickbone George” Alan Sparhawk of the Black-eyed Snakes encouraged the crowd to “dance against tyranny” Saturday at Duluth Cider during the “Stand with Ukraine” concert. Charlie Parr opened the show.

Trampled by Turtles announce grant and Bayfront concert

Bluegrass band Trampled by Turtles has announced its return to Bayfront Festival Park. The Duluth-formed group will perform July 9 with special guest Jenny Lewis.

The band also announced it is partnering with the Homegrown Music Festival on a grant to “battle against artistic mediocrity.” The $5,000 Palomino Grant is available to musicians in, or within 20 miles of, Duluth and Superior and can be used for things like recording, gear and touring. Applications are being taken through Google Forms, which must be submitted by the first day of Homegrown, May 1. The grant winner will play the opening slot of the Bayfront concert.

Freethinkers host Visiting Scholar on the Jiu Jitsu of Argument

The Lake Superior Freethinkers hosted Shane Courtland for a talk at the College of St. Scholastica. Courtland is a Superior native who completed an undergraduate degree at UMD, a PhD at Tulane, and now serves as a leader in the Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University.

Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour returns to Duluth

After a one-year absence, the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour returns to Duluth on Jan. 7-8 at DECC Symphony Hall. This stop on the tour is hosted by the Duluth Cross Country Ski Club, and proceeds from the event benefit local community ski projects. For more details on the event visit the PDD Calendar entry.

PDD Quiz: Halloween Happenings 2021

The spooky season is upon us! Test your knowledge of local Halloween-themed happenings with this week’s quiz (and check out more Halloween hoopla on the PDD calendar).

The next PDD quiz, reviewing the month’s headlines, will be published on Oct. 31. Submit question suggestions to Alison Moffat at [email protected] by Oct. 27.

Video Archive: Bayfield Apple Festival of 1980

Forty-one years ago, WDIO-TV‘s Liz Wagner filed this report from the Bayfield Apple Festival.

A night of films about pets

The Free Range Film Festival continues tonight in rural Wrenshall with a slate of films about pets — a pet turtle documentary, a cartoon about a wild game hunt gone wrong, and a full-length feature titled We Don’t Deserve Dogs.

Watching short films in a century-old barn provided a bit of normalcy Friday night with two filmmakers on hand taking questions from a lighter than usual audience. The venue and environs themselves, with three theaters, concessions and an explosion of wildflowers, is worth the drive just south of Wrenshall at county roads 1 and 4. A new slate of films begins at 7 p.m. Masks are encouraged for viewing inside the barn but outside seating is also available.

Bon Iver to play Bayfront Park in Duluth Aug. 18

Indie folk band Bon Iver will headline Honor the Earth’s “Water is Life: Stop Line 3” music, art and cultural festival at Bayfront Park in Duluth on Aug. 18. The event will also feature performances by Mumu Fresh, Annie Humphrey, David Huckfelt, Larry Long, Lissie, Charlie Parr, Corey Medina and Alan Sparhawk, among others.

Happy 18th birthday to us!

What’s inside the PDD picnic basket? Treats for you, that’s what. Join us on the deck at Boreal House tonight at 5 p.m. for Perfect Duluth Day’s 18th birthday party.

Perfect Duluth Day Outdoor Summer Concert Primer 2021

A Band Called Truman, seen here performing as part of the Chester Creek Concert Series in 2017, returns to Chester Bowl on Aug. 10 as part of the 2021 series. (Photo by Brian Barber)

Last summer was such a bummer, Perfect Duluth Day didn’t even bother publishing its annual preview of outdoor concerts. There was nearly nothing to report. With the pandemic seemingly under control in 2021, however, the list of options is lengthy. Rock, however, seems to have barely survived the pandemic. Bluegrass, folk and country dominate the concert scene.

Math, Semantics and the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic presented a minor math problem for event organizers that seems fairly straightforward and simple to solve. If you promote an annual happening, and it was canceled in 2020, then that year shouldn’t count when you add up how many times the event has occurred. When you announce in 2021 that the whatever annual Whatever Festival is coming up, it should be the same number that it was supposed to be in 2020.

I mean, that’s obvious, right? If I give you an apple every year for 14 years, and last year I didn’t give you one, then the apple I give you this year is the 15th apple, right? It’s not the 16th apple just because I wanted to give you one last year and couldn’t.

The math is fairly straightforward, and for the most part people are getting it right. Take for instance Duluth’s Bayfront Reggae and World Music Festival. The inaugural event was held in 2006. The 2020 event was to be the 15th annual, but it was canceled. Therefore, the promoter is referring to this year’s event as the 15th annual. And that is correct. The 2021 festival will be the 15th in the series.

But I’ve known for quite a while that keeping track of how many times an event has happened in the past isn’t always the top priority of the organizers, who let’s remember have an event to organize with all the tasks that go with it. On one hand, you’d think being willing to get involved in organizing everyone else’s fun might be a thing only math-obsessed nerds do, but that’s just not the case.

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