Saturday of what would have been the 22nd annual Duluth Homegrown Music Festival dawned sunny and was the warmest day so far this year. Under normal circumstances, it would have been perfect weather for a little #RockandRun jog led by Low's Alan Sparhawk followed by a gathering of musicians kids, and pets at the annual Friday bands vs. Saturday bands kickball game at Chester Bowl. Social media was full of fans mourning the loss; eventually, a handful of folks met up for a socially-distanced gathering at the park to take some pics and commiserate.
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May 2, 2020 at 11:44am PDT
Music-wise, Teague Alexy started the day with a kids edition of his daily 9am Tea with Teague livestream "for boys and girls, for left-handed and right-handed kids, for kids who drink milk and juice and water, for all kids." He started with "Old MacDonald, "pausing to ask for help from kids at home to come up with animals and the sounds they make to type into the comments for him to work into the song.
Teague returned for a grownups set at noon as part of a brunch and music event organized by Ellipses. Folks were encouraged to pick up brunch from a local restaurant to enjoy while checking out livestreamed sets from Adam Herman of the Slamming Doors, Ann Kathryn, Teague, and Fever Dream.
In the afternoon Minorbirds, a band including members of The Holy Hootenanners, started a livestream from a barn (we assume on band members Brooke and Caleb Anderson's farm), where there was plenty of space for social distancing. It was a lovely set of heartfelt folk.
Breanne Marie and the Front Porch Sinners found a creative way to gather the whole band for a #StayHomegrown2020 set from band members Breanne and Evan Tepler's house, with the couple performing inside and the rest of the band set up outside at safe distances, fiddler Kailyn Spencer visible through the window. Breanne announced at the beginning that they'd spent the previous 45 minutes looking for the Tepler's dog, Huckleberry, who'd escaped. (Friends were continuing the search during their set and she later posted on social media that he'd been found.) Their country set included tunes intended for their new album that they'd been scheduled to record at Sparta Sound Studio until COVID-19 intervened.
Spin Collective, the local fire dancing troupe that's had a regular Homegrown slot for years, livestreamed from an outdoor stage, taking turns spinning flaming batons and other devices to a music soundtrack, most wearing sparkly red face masks. They finished with a well-spaced performance from the whole group, inlcuding firebreathing and a flaming teeter totter.
Bent Paddle continued its Virtual Saturday Night Sound Set series with Sonja and Big Country of Feeding Leroy performing at their otherwise quiet tap room. Their set included an assortment of old and new originals and covers, including audience requests. Between songs Sonja made the shocking confession that, in all her years participating in Homegrown, she's never been to the kickball game. It was nice to see the virtual tip jar Bent Paddle's set up to support the musicians fill up throughought the set.
During the evening Homegrown organizers shared a link to a virtual version of the 2020 Homegrown Photo Show that would have hung on the walls of Blacklist Brewing. (It was a nice surprise to see it included a photo from former KUMD Homegrown photographer Stevie Twining of our own Music Through the Day Host Katelyn Brinza.)
We got a late-evening treat from the Boomchucks, who shared a video of the band working on a new Jamie Ness tune around a peaceful beach bonfire. Most Homegrown Saturday nights end on a more raucous note, but this year this felt just right.
Here's what's scheduled for this last day of Virtual Homegrown:
The Holy Hootenanners have a 1:30pm livestream on Facebook
Gaelynn Lea's regular Sunday 2pm livestream will be a Virtual Homegrown set this week