Thursday, April 28, 2016

Countdown to Homegrown: The Northland's Very Own Music Festival (First Signs of Spring)

Every part of the world has its own "first sign of spring." For many it's the sound of songbirds in the morning. Ah, they're back! For others it's the spring peepers at sunset. Another sign of spring might be when... you see your first mosquito. (Here's a picture of the first one I saw, now temporarily affixed to the inside of my windshield.) It won't be long we'll see buds on the trees. And this Sunday, the Northland's promised spring is verified with the onset of the Homegrown Music Festival.

By now you've surely seen the 100 page Festival Guides that are in all the usual places. It's likely the best way to see everything that's happening next week from May 1 to 8 here in the Twin Ports, the local music scene's annual celebration of music and the arts. You can, of course, visit and bookmark their website.

A Little History
The Homegrown Music Festival began as a simple birthday party with a handful of bands and a bunch of beer. Now it’s a complete bureaucracy, run by a volunteer steering committee and a fiscal agent.* This year 200 musical acts are scheduled to perform along with a few filmmakers, poets and other artists. And yes, evidently there will also be bunch of beer again this year. Most of the music is good enough that the beer isn't really necessary to enjoy it, though exceptions can probably be cited.

One of the Non-Music Events**
The first visual  leading up to Homegrown is the Homegrown Photography Show, showcasing previous Homegrowns with pictures culled from the community at large and curated by local film photographer Kip Praslowicz. The opening reception is Monday, May 2 at 5 PM at the Red Herring Lounge--and you won't want to miss it, because you can pick up one of the Duluth Art Institute's FREE disposable cameras and then spend the week capturing YOUR Homegrown journey via film!

Turn in your camera by 5 PM, Sunday, May 8, to either the DAI Depot site or the Red Herring Lounge. The film will then be developed "instantly" and put on display, allowing everyone to see what really happened during Homegrown 2016. Photo Stupor will open on Tuesday, May 10 at 5 PM at the Red Herring Lounge, and will be on view for one week.

Exhibition Openings
Location: Red Herring Lounge
Homegrown Photo Show: Monday, May 2 at 5 PM
Photo Stupor: Tuesday, May 10 at 5 PM

Ingredients and Missing Ingredients
I think half the fun of Homegrown is just reading the names of the groups that will be performing. I will personally be missing all the shows after midnight, when they let it all hang out. Try some of these names out for size: Mind Control, Hard Feelings, Ball Slashers, Brain Bugs, Lady Slipper, Mama’s Stolen Horses, Group Too, The Trash Cats, Crazy Neighbors, Silverback Colony. (Now how cool is that?)

I looked in vain to find Revolution Jones and the Fractals. But here are some others who I did see listed: Aly Aleigha, Paper Parlor, The Potluck Communists (Red is a favorite color in the Northland), Songs of Shipwreck (a group of historians), Man on the Moon, Portrait of a Drowned Man, and The Surfactants (a team of chemists?).

There are a lot of familiar like Big Wave Dave and the Ripples, Teague Alexy, the Fish Heads and Murder of Crows.... and on and on, and on and on.  There even a classical music event at Sacred Heart.

Are you sure Revolution Jones is not playing somewhere? That's O.K. There are more than enough groups here who will move your feet or take you to another space in 4/4 time.

The Homegrown Trolley
Anyone who has flown out of Duluth knows that the first stop (usually) is Minneapolis. And because Minneapolis is a hub and DLH is just an outer spoke on the wheel we usually have smaller planes with lower levels on the pecking order of gates at the Minneapolis Airport. Fortunately, they have a train that eagerly assists in conveying us to the heart of the airport where it's easier to reach our appropriate gate before the next flight leaves us behind.

In the same way the Homegrown Festival conscientiously supplies its fans with a means for quickly reaching the next destination from both ends of the Superior cruise line. You may wish to avoid the trolley and get a little exercise as you warm up to Grandma's Marathon. Or you might like to just choose the easy way and meet a few new randomly selected lovers of music. Sometimes serendipity can really be magical. And there are some who say that Homegrown is always a magical time. I mean, it's springtime. Right?

* * * *
Meantime, the beat goes on.

Content Credits
*These two sentences were borrowed without permission from the Homegrown website.
* * This information was provided by a Duluth Art Institute media release. 

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