Feel the Beat at a Fall Music Fest
Fall is a great time to gather with friends and enjoy artists and genres of all types at music festivals throughout Minnesota. Here is a sampling of fall fests; see the events calendar for more.
Concrete and Grass Lowertown Music Festival, St. Paul: Sept. 5-7
Lovely Mears Park in downtown St. Paul is the setting for the Concrete and Grass Lowertown Music Festival. Take in jazz, opera, chamber music, rock, dance, roots and world music with top Minnesota artists as well as national performers. The free festival celebrates the opening of the performance season and is a partnership of The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Minnesota Opera, Ordway Center, Schubert Club and the Twin Cities Jazz Festival.
Mears is a one-block oasis in the Lowertown neighborhood with shade trees, gardens, a stream and a band shell. The square is surrounded by historic buildings, restaurants and bars, some with outdoor seating so alfresco diners can enjoy live performances. Food and beverages are also available in the park during the festival.
Music on Thursday begins at 7 p.m. with The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Friday's concert starts at 5 p.m. with Minneapolis-based indie artist Alison Scott, and the Copper Street Brass Quintent kicks off Saturday's show at 4 p.m. Bring a blanket or chair.
Rock Bend Folk Festival, St. Peter: Sept. 7-8
The annual Rock Bend Folk Festival is presented at the historic Minnesota Square Park in St. Peter. Free musical performances of blues, bluegrass and jazz are scheduled from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and 11:30 to 7:15 p.m. Sunday. Children's activities, arts and crafts, and food make this a family-friendly festival that attracts thousands.
Organized by dedicated community members, the festival has become a symbol marking the end of summer and an occasion to gather and experience extraordinary music and art together.
Minnesota Square Park is located along Highway 169 in St. Peter. The festival is free, but donations are accepted.
Unplugged: The Northern Harvest, Grand Marais: Sept. 12-15
In its twelfth year, Unplugged presents an impressive lineup of national and local singer/songwriters, with performances on the harbor overlooking Lake Superior in Grand Marais.
Performances on Thursday and Friday nights will be carried by National Public Radio as part of the Mountain Stage Radio Show, a live two-hour program hosted by West Virginia Public Broadcasting host Larry Groce. Thursday's show features the BoDeans, The Pines, Jill Sobule & Julia Sweeney, and Dead Man Winter. Friday's lineup includes Tom Paxton, Lori McKenna, Andrew Walesch with Jonathan Brown, and Matraca Berg. The Saturday night concert benefits the North House Folk School. Artists include Tom Paxton, Matraca Berg and Jon Vezner.
Unplugged events include craft and music workshops, sailing and an auction to build an endowment for the North House Folk School and its traditional crafts programs. Tickets for performances range from $20-$50.
Boats and Bluegrass Festival, Winona: Sept. 26-29
Boats and Bluegrass has a lineup of 30 musical acts, outdoor activities, camping and a family-friendly atmosphere. The festival takes place on Prairie Island Park, on the banks of the Mississippi River in Winona.
The musical offerings at Boats and Bluegrass are hip and eclectic, ranging from roots, Americana, bluegrass and folk, to alternative rock, hillbilly, and acts that defy categorization.
Boats and Bluegrass features free canoe trips, nature walks, a nine-hole disc golf course, and a nearby camping site that is divided into family and late-night areas. Food and beverages are available for purchase. Weekend passes including camping start at $89.50. Limited day passes may be available. All kids under 16 are free with an adult.