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.