13 bands in 10 hours at Red Wing’s Big Turn Music Fest

Turns out Red Wing, Minnesota is a great place for a mini-vacation especially during the Big Turn Music Fest. Heather and I left straight from the WMCN studio to Red Wing after getting a recommendation from Gowns to be there in time to see Why Not and I’m so glad we got ourselves going in time. It was an amazing day and night of Minnesota Music!

  1. Loons in the Attic – as soon as they started playing I recognized them, I think from the Midwest Music Fest a few years back. The music is at times funky, almost discoesque and more traditionally alternative. A great start to a long, but fun day.
  2. Why Not – loud! But fun. It was a little weird to hear such a loud band while the sun is shining but I saw enough to know that I’d like to see them again in the dark. I was glad we got the recommendation.
  3. Con Davison – being honest, we went to see Con Davison because I needed to eat and I knew I could get a burger at the Elk’s. But that’s the best thing about a festival, sometimes you find something you needed to know about. He has a more-rocking Simon and Garfunkel feel – maybe in the voice, maybe in the look but a nice surprise.
  4. Bev – happy to see some women on the stage for the first time (for me) at the festival and I’m always happy to see Seth Duin on stage. It was a cool, mellow groove. While I am a big supporter of women’s equity, more than the higher ground, I was just as glad for the voice diversity.
  5. Little Man – I always enjoy Little Man. I hadn’t planned to spend the whole time slot watching him but I just couldn’t leave. So danceable and that guitar playing? Wow. Last time I saw Little Man was in tiny barber shop a few blocks from home. Seeing them on a big stage was a treat.
  6. The Nunnery – I was hoping she would have her dancers with her; she didn’t but I didn’t mind. Her moving voice and looping in the echoes of the church were spectacular. Her version of Fair Lady’s I Could Have Danced All Night was great. She is one of the best users of looping in the Cities. 
  7. Jeremy Messersmith – I hadn’t planned on seeing Jeremy Messersmith, I figured it would be too full and it was a sit-down gig and I don’t like sitting to music. It was too full but we did get in and seeing him sing in the backdrop of a gorgeous church was worth the risk. He did a few songs from Heart Murmurs, which is my favorite album. And I got to make my kid at home a little jealous.
  8. Turn! Turn! Turn! – perennial favorite I had to stop in to see Savannah Smith, Adam Levy and Barb Brynstad. They played in a coffee shop, which was perfect. The crowd clearly enjoyed the show. It was fun for me to see a few songs outside of The Aster in Minneapolis. I love the covers, but I was delighted to catch original songs from Adam and Savannah that will soon be available on their new album.
  9. Porky’s Groove Machine – this was a quick pop-in. The costumes, the dance moves, the crowd drew us in. The funk, the horns and the personality of the band kept me there for an extra song.
  10. Crash Cuddle – favorite surprise of the night was probably Crash Cuddle – and not just because they gave me two buttons. We couldn’t stay long as we had places to be but their trashcore sound great and the dance moves pushed the show into awesome!
  11. Loki’s Folly – just can’t resist Annie and Nissa or, being honest, their roadie parents. It’s fun to see them command the stage. They rock it old school – amazing because their combined age is barely 30! But also there’s something so hopeful about watching them progress and play among Minneapolis legends.
  12. Porcupine – speaking of  Minneapolis legends, Porcupine was a headliner and a huge draw and they did not disappoint. It was the one show that I got to get my real dance on – and I owe them a big thank you for that and like Crash Cuddle, they are as much fun to watch. Some day I will get a still picture of Greg Norton mid-jump. Although not if I have to stop dancing to do it. And I saw something entirely new, Ian Prince managed to drum so hard the cymbal whipped right off stage. Impressive!
  13. Busey – nothing like sending the festival out with a bang. Pure punk, or as I think they like to say, power slop.              

I have been to Red Wing many times, mostly for work but for the fun day trips too. Lots of people told me it was their first visit to Red Wing. The streets were bustling in a way I haven’t seen before. They turned everything into a venue – church, art center, bars, coffee shops. Everyone related to the festival was lovely. Just saying, a weekend festival is a great way for a small town to invite people in – and there is a ton of Minnesota music just waiting for a fun gig.

We ended our weekend with a quick stop at Watt Munisotaram, the Cambodian Buddhist monastery on the way home. I’ve been there before. It’s worth a visit!


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