An oral history of Rock the Garden

Categories: Rock the Garden
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Erik Hess
Rock the Garden 2012.
As we assembled this week's cover story, 89.3 the Current: An oral history, we quickly realized that one key piece of the radio station had a life of its own: Rock the Garden. The annual summer music festival started out in 1998 as a membership driver for the Walker Art Center, a kind of musical incentive to get people in the museum's sculpture garden. During the Walker's expansion in 2004, the festival went on hiatus until, four years later, the Current signed on as a co-sponsor and the two organizations brought Rock the Garden back.

In the five years since, the partnership has produced one of the key moments of summer in the Cities, and has brought a mix of indie rock and musical experiments to the museum's backyard.

Today in extras from the oral history, we have another set of stories. Here are memories of Rock the Gardens 2008 to today, from the people who make the music festival happen.

See Also:
Radio Heads: The oral history of 89.3 the Current
Oral History of 89.3 the Current: Minnesota music community says thanks


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Rock the Garden 2014 will be a two-day festival

Categories: Rock the Garden
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Photo by Anna Gulbrandsen
After a Rock the Garden in 2013 that felt like it would overflow, the Walker Art Center has announced that next year's will be a two-fer. In June 2014, the big concert with 89.3 the Current will be a whole weekend.

Nowhere in the announcement does it say anything about camping overnight on the Walker's lawn, though.

See Also: Rock the Garden archives


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The Walker: Low's set was one of the best Rock the Garden moments ever

Categories: Rock the Garden
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Photo by Zoran Orlic
The Twin Cities music community needs a jolt every so often, and it came over the weekend via Low's performance at Rock the Garden. In a set defying their more traditional recent material, including this year's fascinating The Invisible Way, the 20-year vets leaned heavily on their slower, contemplative side. They performed an extended version of "Do You Know How to Waltz?" for their entire set and close by saying, "Drone, not drones." A significant outcry followed from attendees, but we thought it totally ruled.

While there were murmurs that the Walker must be upset that Low bucked convention and riled a portion of the RTG crowd, senior curator of performing arts Philip Bither was elated by what he experienced. "To my mind, Low's set was one of the most exciting moments in Rock the Garden history," he writes in a thoughtful essay on the Walker's site.

See Also:
Low's one-song set at Rock the Garden totally ruled

20 gorgeous GIFs from Rock the Garden 2013

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20 gorgeous GIFs from Rock the Garden 2013

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Photo by Anna Gulbrandsen

Just like we did last year, here are a selection of GIFs highlighting the many unforgettable sights of Rock the Garden 2013. As it turned out, the Walker Art Center's lawn and parking garage, thanks to Dan Deacon, proved crucial to this year's event.

Photographer Anna Gulbrandsen braved the puddles, the crowds, and drones to get a variety of awesome moments featuring Metric, Silversun Pickups, Bob Mould, Low, and Deacon that will repeat eternally here on Gimme Noise. 

See Also:
Low's one-song set at Rock the Garden totally ruled
Metric at Rock the Garden, 6/15/13
Slideshow: Rock the Garden, People and Scenes

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Low's one-song set at Rock the Garden totally ruled

Categories: Rock the Garden
Low_RTG_2013_Anna_Gulbrandsen.jpg
Photo by Anna Gulbrandsen
Alan Sparhawk: "Drone, not drones."

Duluth experimental rockers Low put on one of the most polarizing performances ever to hit Rock the Garden this year. You see, their entire set consisted of a 27-minute version of their 1996 song "Do You Know How to Waltz?" The dirge-y, slow-building track stretched to nearly twice its recorded length of 14 minutes found on The Curtain Hits the Cast, and it confused the heck out of photographers in the pit waiting for the "first three songs" to be completed.

For many attendees, what they heard was the equivalent of someone hocking a loogie in their Lemongrass Limeade. The consternation all over social media was reminiscent of last year's Atlas Sound show at the Cedar when someone in the crowd requested "My Sharona" and Bradford Cox played a freeform freakout version of it for like 40 minutes. One person even started an @FU_Low Twitter account to express their displeasure. Not everyone hated it, though. And here's why it was right to love Low for what they did.

See Also:
Metric at Rock the Garden, 6/15/13
Slideshow: Rock the Garden, the Music
Slideshow: Rock the Garden, People and Scenes


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Metric at Rock the Garden, 6/15/13

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Photo by Anna Gulbrandsen

Metric
Rock the Garden, Walker Art Center
Saturday, June 15, 2013

Metric pulled off a mighty efficient show to close out 2013's running of 89.3 the Current and the Walker's Rock the Garden on Saturday. With little banter and just the power of stadium-sized material, radiant frontwoman Emily Haines and her three associates delivered 70 minutes of precision work.

The set wasn't without its share of improvised audience participation and theatrics, but even as the cooler evening air soothed the attendees, the band was playing to a slightly agitated crowd that wasn't in the mood for any more surprises. (The Dan Deacon parking garage performance seemed to go over better than the one-song Low set and the early afternoon rain.)

See Also:
Slideshow: Rock the Garden, the Music
Slideshow: Rock the Garden, People and Scenes

Low's one-song set at Rock the Garden totally ruled

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Rock the Garden 2013 lineup & schedule

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Photo by Erik Hess
The 2013 Rock the Garden lineup is out there. The Current and the Walker Art Center have unveiled a grouping of bands that hopefully will not raise the ire of too many local op-ed writers, and two of the big names for the spectacle are staples of the station, Metric and Silversun Pickups.

The event takes place at the Walker on Saturday, June 15 for about 10,000 folks gathered on the grassy hill next to the gallery. For anyone who is not a vet, you'll need to pony up for membership to either the Walker or the Current to get a shot at these tickets before they go on sale Friday. They sell mighty fast.

See Also:
Rock the Garden at Walker Art Center, 06/16/12
10 gorgeous GIFs from Rock the Garden 2012
Rock the Garden Festival 2012 lineup

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