Monday, May 22, 2023

2023 Duluth Dylan Fest... Days Two and One are Done

Arranging the initial design.
Duluth Dylan Fest commenced shortly after dawn on Saturday, May 20th. There were two happenings at the Historic Duluth Armory and the Armory Annex. Mark Poirier led us on a tour of the Armory, with a smattering of details about its history and the vision for the future. Outside the entrance to the Annex one could participate in a collaborative creative effort to produce a welded gate.

As many know well, gates have been the most recent iteration of Bob Dylan's foray in the development of his skills as a visual artist. (EdNote: This activity is completely unrelated to the controversial billionaire Bill Gates.) It's well known Dylan has been drawing and painting for more than half a century. Fewer are aware, however, that he has been creating welded works in iron for three decades now. It's just one more example of Dylan's connections to his Iron Range roots. 

In 2022 our local Dylan Fest, in conjunction with the Duluth Forging Community, created a Dylangate Event. Visitors were invited to bring various items to be incorporated into the overall design, much like the gates Bob Dylan has produced at his Black Buffalo Ironworks studio. The project was such a success that it looks like it's becoming a tradition. One attendee brought a piece of metal from Maryland to contribute.

The big draw, for many Saturday morning, was the opportunity to tour the Historic Duluth Armory where a young Bobby Zimmerman experienced a zeitgeist moment while watching Buddy Holly perform in January 1959. Armory Arts director Mark Poirier led the tour, offering visitors a glimpse of the future for this historical place.

From one to four in the afternoon, the public was invited to sip samples of Heaven's Door whiskey and bourbon, another business that Dylan has spawned late in his career. At five o'clock, Miriam Hanson hosted a special edition of Highway 61 Revisited on KUMD The North radio station, and at 7:00 Hard Rain, the band from St. Louis, provided entertainment for the Duluth Dylan Fest Kickoff Party. Spirits were lifted and dancers danced at the Earth Rider Festival Grounds.  

Samples of Heaven's Door at CashWise
On Sunday, the action moved to Hibbing with a tour of places where Dylan spent his growing up years and a party on the front lawn of the Zimmerman homestead where "Bobby" came of age. In the evening had the first of two John Bushey Memorial Lectures with Seth Rogovoy, Author of Bob Dylan: Prophet Mystic Poet.

A week of events still lies ahead of us though. Here's the full schedule of what's to come, beginning tonight with more Heaven's Door bourbon and whiskey sampling and a live jam at Carmody's Irish Pub, followed by the Basement Tapes Band concert at Bent Paddle Brewery in the Lincoln Park District. It's all free and all good. 

Will we see you there?

* * * 

These guys no how to put on a Dylan show.

A former upstairs ballroom at the Armory?
And a vision for the future for the drill hall where
young Robert Zimmerman saw Buddy Holly.

Photo credits: Ed Newman, Michael Anderson and Jill Fisher (top right)

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