I love a music festival. I love seeing new music; I love seeing old friends. I love the challenge of trying to see as many bands as possible in one small town.
The Red Wing Big Turn boasts 200 bands over two days. The whole town gets involved with churches, shops, community centers and of course bars hosting bands. Everything is close together and well-marked so it’s easy to bounce from one place to another. The weather was more than hospitable. The people were friendly.
We (Krista Vilinskis and I) arrived late at about 7:00, picked up our wristbands, booked into the hotel and got out on the road. Here are the bands we checked out:
GoldenOak is from Maine. They have a light and airy feel that suits the majesty of the Sheldon Theater. It was fun to start the adventure with a new band.
And then it was fun to see Mike Munson who I have seen play many times alone and with Mikkel Beckman. He played at the Christ Episcopal Church, which is also gorgeous and the echoes suited the music.
Bring on the dance with Swashbuckler. They were super fun at the Elk’s and while it’s fun to see bands in glamour locations, sometimes a good old bar feels good. And I could watch that female singer get her jam on all day long!
Natl Park Svc
Natl Park Svc was one of the bands I hadn’t seen but was looking forward to seeing. They filled the space of the Cornerstone Community Church (a church in a strip mall) with classy orchestral rock music. It’s a unique and engaging sound.
We slowed things down for a while starting with Carriage House at Mandy’s Coffee shop. Their harmonies were so sweet and it was a nice break to sit and listen for a minute
The mellow continued with JE Sunde, who came well recommended. The songs and his humor had a definite charm at Art Reach. He drew a great, appreciative and rapt audience.
People Brothers Band
We headed back to the Sheldon for a quick peek at People Brothers Band. I feel like no festival would be complete without them. Fun to hear the funk and there are no better show people.
Back to the Community Cornerstone Church for Wurk with their jazz fusion sound hailing from Madison, WI. I saw a feel people grooving out and I loved the female vocalists on the side.
Not every day you see a Liberian hip-hop artist – with a friend – but it feels like we should see more in the Twin Cities. We have a growing Liberian population and I appreciate how Tarli’s music gave a narrative that is different than my own. Music is a good teaching tool.
A walk-by surprise was Kal Shimmers at Fair Trade Books. It’s a very intimate setting, which was perfect for very intimate music. Kal is a young performer with great poise.
Then we ran into out first nearly capacity show with Molly Brandt at the St James Hotel. Lots of cowboy hats in the crowd and the music was great. Molly always sounds great – if you like honkytonk and apparently lots of folks due.
We trekked to the Staghead to check out Bo Weber. He has a bedroom pop appeal that endearing in its emotion. Also scored half a free burger while we were there – and it was really good!
We hung out at the Staghead long enough to check out Chris Buttshaw, the next performer. He has hip-hop with a message after being 6 years sober from meth. He’s heartwarming to hear hip-hop with such family love behind it.
Bopped back to the St James in time to catch Texas Toast, a fun jam band. Lots of folks on the dancefloor
Got back to the Elk’s in time to see 4onthefloor, a long time favorite of mine. Actually just in time to hear Gabe Douglas sing, I’m Drunk on Tuesday, which was perfect timing. His voice is meant for festival music.
Rogue the Wolf
Being honest I just figured out who this band is. It was one of those times you walk by a door and hear something awesome and you walk in and you’re right. Sadly we caught the very last two songs of Rogue the Wolf at Tators and Dillers but I really liked it!
I love the Immaculate Beings such much I actually waited in line to get into the space at the St James. They did not disappoint. The music was joyful and jamming and so positive.
Hair of the Dog
It was super important to get one more beer, which is surprisingly difficult to do in Red Wing but that landed us at the Barrel House to see Hair of the Dog a perfect rocking bar band to end out a very full evening. Pure unadulterated rock – yay!
Thanks for the recap and checking the fest out!
Thanks for an amazing event. If it weren’t for hosting a radio show midday Saturday I’d have gone two nights!