The final Sunday of the Duluth Homegrown Music Festival is known as Brunch and Recovery Day, a chance to sleep in and wind down another year with a chill, daylit final Homegrown hang. This year, everything was different; what we were recovering from was not a week of late nights and overindulgence, but a week that, while it had many fun moments, just felt...off. No kickball, no "Happy Homegrown!" said while passing friends on the street on the way to another venue, no trolley, no hugs. The Unofficial Duluth Homegrown Music Festival Quarentine Scavenger hunt helped, providing lots of entertaining moments from the 14 teams that attempted to complete the challenges. Among our favorites-festival Director Melissa LaTour pretending to be crossing the finish line of Grandma's Marathon, dramatically crawling the last few feet before getting up to "break" the tape (actually a Homegrown Chicken Shack banner). Through all the happy memories shared and silly challenges recorded, a sense of loss we couldn't quite shake permeated social media, but so did a sense of community.
The two final virtual Homegrown shows served as an antidote to that feeling of loss. The Holy Hootennners went on at 1:30 just as they'd been scheduled in the Homegrown guide, in an outdoor location in their hometown of Mahtowah. Seven members of the band (plus someone's dog) spread out and performed an uplifting set of their soulful country gospel. The video wasn't the best, fitting with the diy, homespun feel of this year's livestreams, but the sound was sweet and clear.
Gaelynn Lea, who'd been scheduled to close the festival at Canal Park Brewing, used her regular Sunday 2pm livestream as a #StayHomegrown2020 set. Her bandmate Dave Mehling joined in remotely from his home in the Twin Cities, although he couldn't be seen onscreen because, according to Gaelynn, while they were testing the video link YouTube thought she was trying to stream Tiger King. Despite the technical issues (Mehling had to mute Gaelynn on his end while she played so his keyboard accompaniment was totally based on visual cues), the two sounded great performing a set of Gaelynn's tunes and one of Dave's. Gaelynn introduced a new parody song based on "Scottish Holiday" by the Corries, poking fun at tourists who see Duluth as a beautiful mecca, only to arrive and be faced with the realities of our mercurial weather. Look for that to be recorded and released soon. Between the songs and the entertaining banter between the two, the performance ended Virtual Homegrown on a feel-good high note.
One last bit of fun came from Ink Tattoo in Superior, who released some Homegrown coloring pages, available for free from their website.
We don't know what next year holds for the Duluth Homegrown Music Festival, but we do know that, if it goes on as planned, our Happy Homegrown hugs will be just a little tighter. Until then, the local livestreams will continue; watch, tip, and support those local musicians, and until next year, Happy Homegrown!