A Select Guide to This Summer's Midwest Music Festivals

Categories: Festivals
Photo By Anna Gulbrandsen
With spring here and the warmer months right around the corner, now seems as good of a time as any to start making summer plans. For music fans, big festivals regularly crowd the summer concert calendar as the temperature begins to rise. These festivals offer music lovers a shot at seeing a ton of fantastic acts in a small amount of time and space.

This year in particular, the Midwestern states have an assortment of quality music festivals lined up, from right here in Minneapolis to the middle of Michigan. And though they'll all leave your wallet a little lighter, they'll surely give you plenty of musical memories that will last well into next summer and beyond.

Here are the 10 Midwest music festivals we're most looking forward to this summer.

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Homegrown Music Festival Reveals Lineup and Twin Cities Invasion

Photo By Mark N. Kartarik
Actual Wolf is one of many acts set to play the Duluth Homegrown Music Festival

The Duluth Homegrown Music Festival has been a shimmering, understated jewel in the North Country concert music calendar for 16 years now. It routinely showcases the best bands from throughout Minnesota, while strengthening the already hearty artistic community in Duluth.

For the past three years, the folks in Duluth have shared some of their fun with us here in the Twin Cities with a friendly invasion from the North, sending a slew of musical ambassadors to rock our local stages with an all-Duluth lineup, while generating interest in their burgeoning festival.

The folks behind Homegrown have just revealed the stellar lineups for their week-long festivities in Duluth, as well as their expertly curated Twin Cities Invasion at the Turf Club, with Minnesota music squarely in the spotlight where it belongs.

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Eaux Claires Music and Arts Festival 2015 Lineup

Photo by D.L. Anderson
Bon Iver is back!
The Eaux Claires Music and Arts Festival, curated by Bon Iver's Justin Vernon and the National's Aaron Dessner, has come into focus. The two-day event set for this July 17-18 in rural Wisconsin has gone from an enigma to a lineup boasting some of the best talent from the Midwest and beyond.

The organizers chose a fragmented way to announce the performers, opting to write an artist's name on the mailing sent out to early ticket purchasers. The first round featured soul singer Charles Bradley, icy synth rockers Polica, black metal specialists Liturgy, Twin Cities rap collective Doomtree, Duluth experimental rockers Low, and Japanese noise punks Melt-Banana are among the acts announced. Update: headliners Bon Iver (in their first performance since 2012), the National, Spoon, Sufjan Stevens, and many more performers have joined the 40-act lineup.

See also:
Decoding Justin Vernon's Eaux Claires Festival

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Taste of Minnesota 2015 Will Return to Waconia

Categories: Festivals
flickr/ Darcy
A Taste of Minnesota will be back at the Carver County Fairgrounds near scenic Lake Waconia, and sort of near the Twin Cities..

A Taste of Minnesota seems to have found a semi-permanent home. The food and music festival will return July 2-5 to the Carver County Fairground in Waconia this summer.

After flooding doused the fest's chances at Harriet Island last year, Waconia opened up its grounds 40 miles west of the Twin Cities as a backup. Note: It was not one of our recommendations for a new location.

See also:
Six Spots to Put Taste of Minnesota in 2015

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Sound Unseen Reveals 2014 Film Festival Lineup

Categories: Festivals, Film
Heaven Adores You
Elliott Smith on on tour, circa 1998

The festivities for Sound Unseen's 15th annual Film+Music+Art Festival kick off in grand -- if a bit bittersweet -- fashion this year.

Leading the impressive slate of films just announced is the Minnesota premiere of Nickolas Rossi's film, Heaven Adores You. It's an intimate look at both the life and music of Elliott Smith. Rossi and producer Marc Smolowitz will be in attendance at the premiere.

Sound Unseen is set to take place between November 12-16, with films screening at McNally Smith College of Music and the Bedlam Theatre in St. Paul, and the Trylon Microcinema in Minneapolis. The full schedule is below.

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A new way to sneak pot into music festivals

Categories: Festivals
Megan Arseneaux
Arseneaux shows off how to smoke out of her handmade Secret Smoker Bracelet

One challenge of music festivals is figuring out how to sneak some pot inside, even while wearing as little clothing as possible. Is there really a good way to do it without sticking it up somewhere really uncomfortable?

Enter the Secret Smoker Bracelet, a colorful hemp-braided wrist accessory that unscrews to reveal a nickel bowl and wooden bead mouthpiece. It complements the Secret Smoker Headpiece, a headband that camouflages your intentions with three festival-friendly fabric flowers. The products are the brainchild of the sunny, pink-haired pothead Megan Arseneaux, who sells about 25 to 35 a week on her Etsy shop, she says, under the name Alice Moon.

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Scenes from Gathering of the Juggalos' night court (NSFW)

Nate "Igor" Smith
A young juggalo faces the punishment for his crimes.
Those in the outside world tend to view the Gathering of the Juggalos as a lawless festival of debauchery, with apparently violent clowns -- "gang members," even, if you ask the U.S. government -- running rampant and chaos ruling the day.

In actuality, this notion is far from the truth. Juggalos in attendance not only consistently treat one another with respect, but even have an institutionalized arbiter of disputes for when conflict does arise.

Have an issue with a fellow juggalo? Take them to Juggalo Night Court.

See also:
Slideshow: Wild Scenes at the Gathering of the Juggalos 2014

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10 ways the 2014 Gathering of the Juggalos is different in Ohio

Nate "Igor" Smith
After a seven-year stint at Cave-In-Rock, Illinois, the Gathering of the Juggalos moves this year to Legend Valley Campground in Thornville, Ohio.

Will its new home prove as accommodating as its last? Or will the residents of Thornville freak the hell out - like the citizens of Kaiser, Missouri, did when they learned last year that the Gathering was flirting with a move to their town?

After Day One of the Gathering in Thornville, it's probably a bit premature to answer either of those questions. But there are plenty of differences between this year's Gathering and last year's festival. Below are ten initial observations we had as to how the move to Ohio may be better -- or worse.

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A conversation with the cops at the Gathering of the Juggalos

Nate "Igor" Smith
Juggalos on Wednesday
What's different about this year's Gathering of the Juggalos in Thornville, Ohio? Well, the cops for one thing.

During last year's coverage of the event, set in Cave-In-Rock, Illinois, we encountered minimal security. The gatekeepers and patrol staff, which were seemingly just exceptionally large juggalos in "SECURITY" shirts, peered into backpacks to eliminate glass bottles and fireworks. Aside from that, they pretty much did nothing except hang out and then - only after someone died of a drug overdose -- reactively shut down the Gathering's infamous drug bridge. This year, however, we encountered a different scenario.

See also:
The 2014 Gathering of the Juggalos Opens Up in Ohio (NSFW)

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5 surprises from the Gathering of the Juggalos 2014 lineup

YouTube sceenshot
It's the most magical, miraculous time of the year, as this week the good people wicked clowns at Psychopathic Records bring us this year's Gathering of the Juggalos. No longer at Cave In Rock, Illinois, this year's festivities will take place at Legend Valley in Thornville, Ohio, or as the 2014 commercial installment would have you believe, "Heaven." RFT Music will be there -- look for that coverage later this week.

In the meantime, here are the biggest head-scratchers in the event's lineup.

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