With Minnesota’s wide assortment of outdoor music festivals—featuring jazz and blues, indie, reggae, hip hop, country and classical—it’s easy to get out and groove to the sounds you like best.
At many of the non-urban music fests, camping and camaraderie are part of the experience. You can head out almost any summer weekend for a rockin’ good time. Check event websites for the latest news on who’s playing this year.
Some music festivals have been around for so long they’ve become Minnesota traditions. We Fest, held at the Soo Pass Ranch near Detroit Lakes, has been going strong for more than 30 years and draws thousands of faithful fans with the biggest names in country music.
The Moondance Jam is a camping and classic rock fest held at Moondance Ranch near Walker. Prominent national acts that have appeared include Kiss, Poison, Def Leppard, Chicago and REO Speedwagon.
The Twin Cities Jazz Festival brings local and national talent to downtown St. Paul every June. Performers have included Dave Brubeck, Spyro Gyra, Butch Thompson and Chic Corea.
The landmark Aerial Lift Bridge in Duluth is the backdrop for two terrific fests. The Bayfront Reggae and World Music Festival, in July, contributes some of its proceeds to help youth in Jamaica. The Bayfront Blues Festival in August features music stages and barbecue and Cajun food. Or try the smaller Boundary Waters Blues Festival outside Ely in Winton.
For classical fans, the Minnesota Beethoven Festival in Winona features world-class musicians in June and July, and the Northern Lights Music Festival includes three weeks of concerts at different venues throughout the Iron Range.
New music festivals pop up regularly, so browse the events calendar for more finds.
Minnesota Music Fest Sampler
Late May, St. Paul: Soundset
Early June, Minneapolis: Famous Dave’s BBQ & Blues Festival
Mid-June, Walker: Moondance Jammin’ Country Fest
Late June, St. Paul: Twin Cities Jazz Festival
July 1 to Mid-July, Aurora: Northern Lights Music Festival
Late June to Mid-July, Winona: Minnesota Beethoven Festival
Early July, Minneapolis: Basilica Block Party
Most of July, Minneapolis: Sommerfest
Mid-July, Walker: Moondance Jam
Mid-July, Duluth: Bayfront Reggae and World Music Festival
Late July, Hutchinson: RiverSong Music Festival
Late July, Northfield: Vintage Band Festival
Early August, Detroit Lakes: We Fest
Early August, Lake Itasca: Lake Itasca Family Music Festival
Mid-August, Richmond: Minnesota Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Festival
Mid-August, Duluth: Bayfront Blues Festival
Late August, Winton: Boundary Waters Blues Festival