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Summer Guide 2024: Concerts, Festivals, Comedy

It's another epic season here in the Twin Cities.

Clockwise: Red, White, and Boom; Santigold; Classical Actors Ensemble; Asian Street Food Night Market; Dulce Sloan

We barely had a winter this year, and now spring is turning into summer. 

But hey, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be excited for the new season. Some events are in limbo (hi there, Open Streets) while others have crossed the rainbow bridge (RIP, Northern Spark), yet there’s still a lot to see and do over the next few months. The following are a few highlights—a mere whisper of all that the cities have to offer—but it’s a good place to start if you’re a festival goer, music lover, comedy supporter, or food fan (and who isn’t?).

Stay tuned this week and next for more Summer Guide stuff, including posts covering farmers’ markets, outdoor movie series, bike stuff, camping info, and lots more. Happy summer, everyone! Make the most of it.

TC Pride Parade


Skyline Mini Golf

Walker Art Center

While some putt-putt courses aim for putting-green realism, others go full spectacle. The Walker is all about the latter, with holes featuring giant hot dogs, mirrored surfaces, tiny odes to the cities, and wacky opportunities to become an obstacle for putters yourself. Don’t expect to work on your handicap here; this course takes mini golf almost to the point of parody as you’ll find yourself testing your skills at ping pong, pool, and Plinketto. Just roll with the chaos—that’s part of the fun. $12 ($10 Walker members and ages 7-18); free for ages 6 and under with paid adult. 725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis. Now through October 6—Jessica Armbruster

TC River Rats

Mississippi River

What is Ratagascar? It’s not a place (we checked); it’s not a movie about a vermin chef (we think). It’s this summer’s thematic show from the Twin Cities River Rats, the local water skiing crew that has been carving up the Mississippi River since 1979. Specifically, the Rats say, “Ratagascar is filled with adventure, including high-flying jumps, tall pyramids, powerful balancing acts, and barefoot tricks.” Hm, sounds a lot like all River Rats shows, but there ain’t a damn thing wrong with that. As always, this team of rivertop tricksters performs for free and for the whole family. Bring some chairs and blankets, buy some concessions, and enjoy a Minneapolis summertime institution. Free. 6:30 p.m. 1758 West River Rd. N., Minneapolis; find more info here. Thursdays through August—Jay Boller 

Warehouse District Live

Downtown Minneapolis

The fate of Open Streets may be uncertain this season, but every weekend a part of First Avenue will be closed to cars—and not just for construction reasons. Described as “an enhanced pedestrian zone,” Warehouse District Live will offer things that big cities normally have in their downtown areas: food trucks, extended seating areas, and more public bathrooms. Wow! So do some bar-hopping, sit outside and eat, walk in the middle of the street, and wonder why so many exurban Twitter users are so scared of downtown. Free. 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. Fri.-Sat. First Avenue, between Fifth and Sixth Streets, Minneapolis; find more info here. June 7 through October —Jessica Armbruster

Asian Street Food Night Market

Asian Street Food Night Market

Sears Parking Lot

An epic festival in a Sears parking lot? Hell yes. The ever-popular, always delicious Asian Street Food Night Market returns this weekend. The gang’s all here: fried egg rolls, crepes (both savory and fruity), sushi burritos, mini donuts, halo-halo, deep-fried stuffed mochi, shaved ice, boba tea—are you hungry yet? Add a beer garden, a live music stage, local vendors, a talent show, and a Lion Dance performance and you have a great way to spend a few hours consuming local Asian-American culture. Follow the org’s Facebook page for updates of what’s coming to the fest. Free. 3-11 p.m. Sat.; 3-10 p.m. Sun. 425 Rice St., St. Paul. June 8-9—Jessica Armbruster

Wort Tour

Insight Brewing

If you’re anything like me, you spent your awkwardest years attending Warped Tours and recording New Found Glory’s debut album onto MiniDiscs (still waiting on my investment into that format to pay off…). The folks at Insight Brewing are hoping your nostalgia for that pop-punk/emo/ska era pays off at Wort Tour, a DIY riff on the punky teen lifestyle fest that ran from 1995 until 2019. Among the rad activities planned for Wort Tour: a goddamn pop-up skate park on which pro skaters will shred and amateurs can compete for prizes; flash tattoos from Ritual & Union Tattoo Collective; merch and freebies galore; plus food trucks and specialty beers and pops. The music lineup includes ska band Umbrella Bed, fellow skasters Lost Island Society, Space Monkey Mafia (one guess at their genre...), emo/punk tribute act Panic! at the Costco, Blink-182 cover band Blink $1.82, pop-punkers Linus, and (the slightly off-theme) Killers cover crew Smile Like You Mean It. (Check out the very fun, hopefully not legally actionable Wort Tour poster here.) Sounds like an absolute blast. $5. 1 to 10 p.m. 2821 E. Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here. June 8—Jay Boller 

Deutsche Tage

Germanic-American Institute

Polka tunes and brats… in June? It’s more likely than you think! There’s no need to wait around for Oktoberfest: At the 66th annual Deutsche Tage (German Days), the Germanic-American Institute invites you to enjoy authentic foods paired with Paulaner beer, music, and traditional dance from groups like Wisconsin’s Pommersche Tanzdeel Freistadt. They’ll have food from Aki’s Pretzels, Black Forest Inn, Burbach’s Potato Pancakes, Ruhland’s Strudel, and others, plus additional entertainment from Bavarian Musikmeisters, the Jolly Huntsman, Minnesänger Choir, Jimi the Polka Pirate, and Rivers Ballet. Free (adults 21+ can purchase a $10 wristband to buy alcohol). 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sat.; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sun. 301 Summit Ave., St. Paul; more info here. June 8-9—Em Cassel

Chalkfest Maple Grove

Main Street

Folks, we’ve been sleeping on Chalkfest, a massive art celebration out in Maple Grove. Each year, artists from around the world come to town to create amazing pieces, using asphalt as their canvas. The resulting artworks are, to put it mildly, gorgeous. Past efforts have included mind-bending optical illusions, super-realistic portraits, detailed cityscapes, odes to rap artists, and lots of mandalas. You can watch artists create these pieces live and, in some cases, even help out. The event also includes a kids’ zone with tons of hands-on activities and a stage featuring local live music. Find more details at Free. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Art can be found along Main Street, between Elm Creek Boulevard and Arbor Lakes Parkway, Maple Grove. June 8-9—Jessica Armbruster

Classical Actors Ensemble

Twelfth Night or What You Will

Various Locations

At one time, theater was entertainment for the masses. And this may be most apparent in one of Shakespeare’s most soapy works, Twelfth Night. The hallmarks of great trash TV are all here: mistaken identities, twins, forged love letters, romantic overtures. When twins Sebastian and Viola are separated via a shipwreck, Viola opts to disguise herself as a gent and the women (and men) come calling. Throw in the antics of a drunk uncle and you have yourself a 400-something-years-old romcom. This summer you can see it in the parks of the Twin Cities and surrounding ‘burbs thanks to Classical Actors Ensemble’s free summer series. Find times and locations at June 14-July 14—Jessica Armbruster

Juneteenth Minnesota Block Party

West Broadway

North Side’s community-minded Juneteenth Festival returns to West Broadway this summer. During the day you’ll find a variety of things to see and do, whether you’re looking to do some networking or simply entertain the kids. Fathers will score a free breakfast while supplies last, and folks can find more free eats at the youth cooking station. There’ll be two stages of entertainment; one for poetry, speakers, and performance groups, the other featuring live music. Black-owned businesses will be sharing info and selling wares, and health and career fairs will have additional resources. Kids can play games at the mini carnival, while history and cultural exhibits will educate. Find more info at Free. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. West Broadway, from Lyndale to Emerson Avenues North, Minneapolis. June 16—Jessica Armbruster

Stone Arch Bridge Festival

West River Parkway

The St. Anthony Main side of the Stone Arch Bridge is closed through spring of 2025, but that doesn’t mean this fest is canceled. In fact, there are even fests inside of the fest, like a never-ending Matryoshka doll. The main events are the art and the music; over 200 juried artists will be sharing their work, selling items, and giving demos while two stages of music will showcase local acts. Classic vehicles will be parked and sparkling at the Art of the Car Show, while a kids’ zone will offer hands-on fun and entertainment and the Contigo Minneapolis Dance Festival will host social dancing all weekend long. There will be two markets, one offering vintage threads and vinyl and another focused on culinary arts. That’s a lot of stuff, folks! For more info, visit Free. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. West River Parkway, from 11th Avenue South to North Fourth Avenue, Minneapolis. June 15-16—Jessica Armbruster

Little Mekong Night Market

Little Mekong Cultural District 

St. Paul has not one but two Asian night markets these days, which means we now have even more chances to enjoy super delicious eats. We’re talking egg rolls, noodle dishes, those super fluffy pancakes, halo halo, street meats, takoyaki, bentos, and cotton candy loaded with sprinkles. This is a market, though, so it’s not just about food. There will also be vendors and local artists offering things like Hmong-language children books, kawaii stationery, and glittery pho earrings. Expect live entertainment, too, from traditional dance to modern K-pop hits. Find more details at Free. 5-11 p.m. Sat.; 3-9 p.m. Sun. Little Mekong Cultural District, University Avenue West between Mackubin and Marion Streets in St. Paul. June 22-23—Jessica Armbruster

Wedge LIVE Cat TourPhoto by Spooge McDuck

The Uptown Cat Fair: A Wedge LIVE Cat Tour

Mueller Park

Guys, we really really love cats. I mean, look at that pic above: That’s a lotta people hoping to peep some felines. Now in its seventh season, the Wedge LIVE has been helping people find cats via its #CatsOfTheWedge tour, be they on rooftops, leashed up on a patio, or peering back from an apartment window. Wedge Live is a one-man, hyperlocal news source doing really great work, so it makes sense that the events are hyperlocal as well. This summer’s theme is "fear and loathing on Hennepin Avenue," meaning crowds should expect construction delays as “nationally heralded cat tour guide” Chet Wedgely takes you on an odd tour of… cats. No really, this is a goofy fun time. If you live in the ‘hood and want folks to gaze upon your cat, you can sign up at Otherwise, consider supporting this alt news media at Free. 6-7:30 p.m. 2500 S. Bryant Ave., Minneapolis. June 26—Jessica Armbruster

Northeast Minneapolis Dog Parade

SE Main Street

Folks, we also love dogs. So I gotta give a shout out to this humble fido fest that is impossibly cute. Bring your gentle buddy to the park right by St. Anthony Main to make new furry friends. The event kicks off with a parade around the neighborhood, where pets and their people will bless bar-hoppers and patio diners with a barrage of cuteness. Once back at the park, there will be a casual hang with contests and prizes for best trick, best lookalike, and best costume. 5:30-7:30 p.m. SE Main Street at 96 Hennepin Avenue (across the street from FRGMNT Coffee), Minneapolis. June 28—Jessica Armbruster

52th Annual Twin Cities Pride

Loring Park

Twin Cities Pride isn’t just a festival anymore; it’s a month-long string of events that includes film screenings, family picnics, fairs in the suburbs and outstate Minnesota, gallery exhibitions, sports nights, gender-affirming clothing swaps, and markets. The LGBTQ+ community isn’t a monolith, after all, so over the years Pride has expanded and adapted. But the big event that brings everyone together is the two-day fest in Loring Park. This year’s event will feature a mind-boggling 650 or so vendors, organizations, political groups, and charities. There will be four stages of entertainment, from kiddie fare to drag shows. The beer garden is a good hang spot (or head to the Sculpture Garden for Friday’s Beer Dabbler event) and, as always, the after parties at nearby clubs and bars will be epic. One place that’s sadly not in the mix this year is the 19 Bar; after a fire, the space has closed indefinitely. You can follow them on Facebook for new news and any upcoming fundraisers. Find the complete schedule of Pride events this June (and beyond!) at 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sat.; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sun. 1382 Willow St., Minneapolis. June 29-30—Jessica Armbruster

Red, White, and Boom

Red, White, and Boom

The Mighty Mississippi

Downtown is back, baby! OK, Red, White, and Boom never really “went” anywhere, but after taking a Covid break and returning last year with a (kinda sad) laser show, the real thing has returned to upset our pets and instill patriotism in the sky via fire. But before shit gets blown up we gotta pre-party, so be sure to get there early for food truck eats and rock and R&B covers from Big Mike Retro Soul & the Westside Horns and DJ Angel Beloved. Find more details about parking and viewing spots online. 6 p.m.; 10 p.m. fireworks. West side of the Mississippi River, at Water Works and the Stone Arch Bridge parking lots, Minneapolis. July 4—Jessica Armbruster

77th Annual Fourth in the Park

Langford Park

Meanwhile, this St. Paul Fourth of July party just keeps on going. Festivities include a parade, which travels along Como Avenue from Luther Place to Langford Park, where there will be a ball pit, live music (Ticket to Brasil, the Foxgloves, Light of the Moon Trio), food trucks, pickleball, lawn games, and picnicking. Stop by Ned’s Park Service (2277 Como Ave.) for free flags and T-shirts while they last. Find more details at Free. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. 30 Langford Park, St. Paul. July 4—Jessica Armbruster

7th Annual St. Paul Food Truck Festival

Union Depot

Union Depot isn’t just a train stop; in the summer it also hosts food trucks of all kinds at the Food Truck Festival. Over 50 of ‘em will be stopping by for a free party featuring live music, giant checkers, cornhole games, and hammerschlagen. Oh, and there will be food, whether you’re looking for woodfired pizza, fancy donuts, fruit salads, deep fried egg rolls, or skewered meats, you’ll have options. Wash it all down with a local brew, cider, or NA drink and feel sated… until the next weekend festival. Find more info at Free. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sat.-Sun. 390 E. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul. July 13-14—Jessica Armbruster

Lake Phalen Dragon Boat Fest

MN Dragon Boat Festival

Lake Phalen

Need a break from the sailboats on Lake Harriet or Bde Maka Ska? You can change up your sightlines this weekend as the Dragon Boat Festival returns to St. Paul. We’re talking about long, colorful canoe-like boats that take around 20 people to operate. Watch them race from the shore, and enjoy cultural performances, live music, food trucks, and beer while you gaze. Find more details at Free. 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. 1400 Phalen Dr., St. Paul. July 13—Jessica Armbruster

Minnehaha Falls Art Fair 2023

Minnehaha Falls

There’s plenty to love about this easygoing festival. First of all, there are lots of vendors—potters, jewelry makers, T-shirt printers—but not an overwhelming amount. You can speed through this thing in 30 minutes, or take several laps over a few hours. Another bonus: All artists, businesses, and orgs will have at least a few items under $30 (take that, Uptown Art Fair!). There’s live music all day on stage, and if the line at Sea Salt is too much for you there are also food trucks, beer trucks, and a fast-moving beer garden. You’re right by the falls, and a quick walk to the dog park. And if you need a break from it all, the covered picnic spots are usually pretty quiet and shady. Find more info online. 3-8 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. July 19-21—Jessica Armbruster

Minneapolis Aquatennial

Various locations

Minneapolis’s big old love letter to water is back for another three days of fun. WTF does that mean? Well, there's the Torchlight Parade, a night-time illuminated march through downtown and ski stunts on the Mississippi from the Minneapolis River Rats. There’ll be free yoga in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and Carifest, a festival celebrating Caribbean culture. There will be markets, sporting events, a family fair in Loring Park, and AquaJam, featuring skateboarders (near the water, natch). It all ends with a big fireworks show on the Mississippi. Events are free; check out for more details. July 24-27—Jessica Armbruster

Minneapolis Aquatennial's Torchlight Parade

Loring Park Art Festival/Powderhorn Art Fair/Uptown Art Fair

Various Locations

For years, these three art shows were a summertime juggernaut, coming together like a massive art Voltron set on taking over our neighborhoods. But things are changing, and the band is (kinda) breaking up. Loring Park has struck out on its own the past few years, moving its date up a week, while Powderhorn has continued to grow but also features a local artist showcase. Meanwhile, Uptown has been forced to relocate this year due to construction on Hennepin. It’ll be heading deeper south this summer, setting up shop at Bachman's. All of these events will have 100+ artists, food trucks, and entertainment. Most will likely offer free rides via Metro Transit; keep an eye on their websites for more information. Loring Park Art Festival: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sat.; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sun. (July 27-28)  Powderhorn Art Fair: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sat.-Sun. (August 3-4) Uptown Art Fair:  Bachman’s Floral, Home & Garden Center, 6010 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis. (August 3-4)—Jessica Armbruster

Fringe Festival

Various Locations

Theater fanatics: Your marathon awaits you. Every August, the Fringe Fest brings us a metric crapton of theater meant to be consumed buffet-style. Nearly 100 theater orgs, troupes, and houses are coming to town, so it’s not really cliché to say there’s a little bit of everything here. There will be comedies, there will be musicals, there will be biting social satires, there will be silly puff pieces. There will be gems, and there will be bombs. These are short productions mostly under one hour each, so if you find yourself in the latter situation, it will be blessedly short. But oh, when you find a gem it’s truly magic. Pro tip: Ask people in line or in the theater what they’ve seen and liked to help you find the best good stuff. Plan your Fringe by checking out the schedule at August 1-11—Jessica Armbruster

Pickup Truck Opera Volume Four: Faust

Various Locations

Now in its 16th year, Mixed Precipitation’s Pickup Truck Opera returns with a mashup of opera, Top 40 hits, and theater in the parks, gardens, and bluffs of Minnesota. This time they’re tackling Faust, Charles Gounod’s operatic take on the legendary tale where a man makes a “get power now, pay later” deal with the devil. This version takes place in the not-so-distant future when Dr. Faust strives to save people on our dying planet before Méphistophélès comes to collect. Add in some new wave disco tunes and Depeche Mode, and you’ve got a thoroughly modern take on a work penned in 1859. Find a list of locations and make reservations at mixed $5-$45 suggested donation. August 8-September 15—Jessica Armbruster

Things I saw and drank at the Minnesota State Fair last year.Jessica Armbruster

Minnesota State Fair

Minnesota State Fairgrounds

This is the big one, folks. The one you wait all year for, the one you plan for, the one you don’t really need me to tell you about. Well, I’m a big fan, too, so I’m gonna tell you all about it anyway. Grandstand shows this year include Chance the Rapper, Ludacris and T-Pain, Mötley Crüe, Matchbox Twenty, and Becky G. Oh, and Kidz Bop. I don’t know why you would go to that, but they have your back, Kidz Bop fan. There are plenty of free shows, too. I’m told there will be over 900 (!!), with highlights including Marky Ramone, Semisonic, Mae Simpson, and Maggie Rose. There will be over 1,600 foods; the new food and drink list is usually posted sometime this month. There will be animals, from gentle bunnies to costumed llamas that spit when they’re annoyed. The Midway and Kidway will return for thrill seekers, the giant veggies will be displayed, and there will be wonderfully weird art in mediums including seed, cross stitch, and cake. It’s truly the great Minnesota get-together, and a great way to say farewell to summer. Find more info at $16-$18. Daily gate hours are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.; 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Labor Day. 1265 Snelling Ave. N., St. Paul. August 22-September 2—Jessica Armbruster

Etran de l'AirPhoto by Abdoulmoumouni Hamid


Bill Frisell Trio


Frisell has made a career of showcasing his own versatility while still honing a distinctive guitar style. Atmospheric originals, reinterpreted film soundtracks, straight jazz, bent country, standards, contemporary pop—he’s taken it all in and Friselled it in his image. Rounding out his trio are longtime accomplices Thomas Morgan on bass and drummer Rudy Royston, who know his tricks inside and out. Though the trio most recently recorded Orchestras, a live double album, with the 60-piece Brussels Philharmonic and the 11-piece Umbria Jazz Orchestra (not at the same time), that’s way too many musicians to squeeze into the Dakota. Tonight it’ll just be Frisell, Morgan, and Royston. $30/$35. 6:30 & 8:30 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; find more info here. June 5—Keith Harris 

Kim Gordon

Fine Line

Turns out the breakup of Sonic Youth wasn’t just for the best of its members’ emotional well-being, but for their creative output as well. Lee Ranaldo in particular has flourished on his own, expanding his sound and his emotional range on a series of terrific solo albums. Gordon was out of the game for a little bit, but then she teamed up with producer Justin Raisen for the 2019 album No Home Record, guitar and electronics. She reteamed with Raisen for her latest, the even beatier, more abrasive, and often funnier The Collective. On “Bye Bye,” she simply recites a to-do list and rattles off a bunch of mundane items, as though packing for a trip, though in a more ominous tone —it’s like a postmodern riff on the old line about a great vocalist being able to sing the phone book. And she takes on Manosphere dolts and their incel following with ”I’m a Man” (“Don’t call me toxic just because I like your butt”). With Infinite River. $35-$50. 8 p.m. 318 N. First Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here. June 7—Keith Harris 

Orville Peck


On almost exactly this date two years ago, Orville Peck came to First Ave. for back-to-back sold out nights, and at the time, we told ya, “good luck seeing him in a room that small again.” The masked country singer has released a scant seven songs since, all duets; on May’s Stampede, Vol. I, he warbles alongside Willie Nelson for a cover of “Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly Fond of Each Other” and lends his tenor to a perfectly adequate version of Elton John’s “Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting).” No matter—his star has continued to rise over a relatively laid-back two years, and now he’s at the much bigger Armory, a glow up that will make sense to anyone who’s seen the charismatic crooner perform before. At an Orville Peck show, crying and dancing are encouraged in equal measure, enthusiastic fans are handed roses from the stage, and you might even find yourself unexpectedly shedding a tear to a Replacements cover. With Durand Jones and Debbii Dawson. $41.50+. 5:30 p.m. 500 S. Sixth St., Minneapolis; find more info here. June 11—Em Cassel

Janet Jackson

Xcel Energy Center

When I caught Janet at Treasure Island in 2019, she delivered the hits and hadn’t lost a step as a dancer; folks who caught the “Together Again” tour when it first passed through the Xcel last May were even more enthusiastic about her performance. It’s a true career retrospective, packing in 40 songs, including a few deeper cuts and club-forward remixes. Though only dummies ever doubted her place near the center of late 20th century pop, it’s great to see Janet Jackson’s legacy increasingly acknowledged. If nothing else, this show seems to be outselling Justin Timberlake’s Xcel gig on Halloween. With Nelly. $54.95 and up. 8 p.m. 199 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul; find more info here. June 18—Keith Harris

The Pixies and Modest Mouse 

Surly Festival Field

Let me be the first to inform Gen Xers and millennials of a shocking fact: You’re old as shit! As such, stacked nostalgia bills have become the norm, and you could do a whole lot worse than the Pixies and Modest Mouse. The Pixies, alt-rock titans since the term was “college rock,” have been going strong since 1986, though the revolving door at bass continues to spin—the great Kim Deal was replaced over a decade ago by Paz Lenchantin, who has also since left. The group’s latest album, Doggerel, arrived in 2022 to lukewarm reviews. But hey, these motherfuckers made Surfer Rosa and Doolittle, and nobody can take that from ‘em. Modest Mouse are also the makers of all-time rock albums (1997’s The Lonesome Crowded West, 2000’s The Moon & Antarctica), and have also endured lineup shifts; founding drummer Jeremiah Green died in 2022 and founding bassist Eric Judy split in 2012. It’s more or less the Isaac Brock show these days, with the band deciding to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their incredibly unlikely Top 40 album, Good News for People Who Love Bad News. Brock, he of semi-recent conspiratorial inclinations, remains one of the most engaging frontmen out there. Opening is the always wonderful Cat Power, whose Bob Dylan cover album from last year proved faithful and beautiful. $65. 4:30 p.m. 520 Malcolm Ave. SE, Minneapolis; find more info here. June 20—Jay Boller

Twin Cities Jazz Festival

Various Locations

As always, this year’s Jazz Fest is centered on Mears Park in Lowertown, with multiple St. Paul venues in the area (including the Apostle Supper Club and Metronome Brewery) and a bit further flung (such as Mancini’s and Papa Legba Lounge) also participating. In addition, it’s expanding up to Crooners Supper Club in Fridley for 2024. Mainstage performers include vibraphonist Stefon Harris and his band Blackout, veteran saxophonist Joe Lovano, and a pair of vocalists: Karrin Allyson and the Prince-anointed Kandace Springs. And it’s all free. (I’m restraining myself from making another “free jazz” joke this year.) Free; find the complete schedule here. June 20-22—Keith Harris

Adrienne Lenker 

State Theatre

The folk-rock songwriting powers of Lenker, who is low-key one of us, need to be studied in some sort of laboratory. As her killer band Big Thief churns out albums at a prolific pace, the frontwoman maintains a blistering solo career—four Lenker albums since 2018, including last year’s Bright Future, in addition to three BT LPs during that span. Incredible stuff. I won’t razzle/dazzle you with hifalutin rock critic verbiage on her staggeringly emotional, impressionistic lyricism, which draws heavily on the natural world, channeling through her almost mythical-sounding voice, though I certainly could. (You have to believe me!) Instead, just watch this intimate performance from inside a castle and attend the damn State Theatre shows. Staci Foster opens. $35-$60. 8 p.m. 805 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here. June 29-30—Jay Boller

Taste of Minnesota

Nicollet Mall

Last year the relaunched Taste of Minnesota, a two-day free festival along Nicollet Mall, was framed by city leaders as a Minneapolis-is-back victory lap. Historically, the food ‘n’ tunes bash was held outside the State Capitol through the ‘80s and ‘90s, relocated to St. Paul’s Harriet Island in 2003, and, finally, lasted for a couple of years in Waconia before shutting down in 2015. In practice, the rebooted Taste was well-attended but suffered from retrospectively obvious issues related to a lack of drinking water, shade, and food—it's summer on asphalt, folks! Here's hoping logistics are smoother for this fest, which'll feature headliners like '90s alt-rockers the Wallflowers (perhaps you're familiar with the singer's dad) and country star Martina McBride on Saturday, plus local R&B/funk/soul favorites Morris Day & the Time and Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis on Sunday. Also on tap, not unlike the hopefully ample supply of H2O: lots more music, food trucks, ziplining, a puppy party, and F1RST Wrestling. Organizers are touting ToM '24 as bigger than last year's, which was made possible by a one-time, $1.85 million grant from the Minnesota Legislature. It's unclear how much state funding went into this summer's installment. Free. Noon to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. 250 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; find more info here. July 6-7.—Jay Boller

Etran De L’Air

Turf Club

With their great 2018 debut, No. 1, this family band from Niger secured its place among the premier practitioners of bluesy Saharan rock, with its circular melodies, triumphant ululations, and flashy improvisations. The group’s 2022 follow-up, Agadez, was even more impressive—a bit more virtuosic, the rhythms less choppy. You’ll hear far less Hendrix in Etran De L’Air’s attack than you will in the heavy flights of Mdou Moctar, the most successful practitioner of this genre stateside. But judging from last year’s two-track Live in Seattle, they rock plenty. I missed ’em when they hit the Turf last July, and I’m not about to make that mistake again. $17/$20. 8:30 p.m. 1601 University Ave. W., St. Paul; find more info here. July 10—Keith Harris

Minnesota Yacht Club

Harriet Island

The cryptically named new fest on the block may not have a very clear brand identity (at least the Basilica Block Party is committed to “bands you once listened to on Cities 97”) but it does offer up the best single-day retro lineup of any 2024 local music festival. Too bad that line up is divided between two days. My personal preference is for Day One, with Alanis and Gwen headlining, the unwavering Joan Jett and the fiery Morgan Wade in support, and Durry and Gully Boys representing their hometown. But if you wanna see the Hold Steady, you’ll have to buy tix for Day Two with the Chili Peppers mamafrazzawhossawoppin’ in the headlining spot and put up with the Offspring as well. Can’t Craig and the boys swap places with the Black Crowes? Single-day tickets start at $135; two-day tickets start at $255. Harriet Island Regional Park, 49 Harriet Island Rd., St. Paul; find complete lineup, ticket prices, and more info here. July 19-20—Keith Harris



Fests! They’re not just for superstars on sprawling concert grounds! The West Bank’s last-dive-standing is set to cram 40 bands into three days, and unless it rains, you’ll get to lounge and carouse on the lovely Palmvillion. (I just came up with that term for the Palmer’s patio myself, and am willing to license it for a small fee.) The names will be familiar to most Palmersgoers: Cindy Lawson, Monica LaPlante, Murf, Christy Costello, the Black Widows, Scrunchies, etc. Am I just listing performers here? I am! They’re worth listing! There are no advance tickets sold—pay when you get to the door. $10 each day. 500 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis; find complete listings and other info here. July 26-28—Keith Harris

Vampire WeekendPhoto by Michael Schmelling

Vampire Weekend


Following the much looser 2019 album Father of the Bride, the 10 compact songs on Only God Was Above Us, coming in at a taut 47 minutes, suggest a return to the clockwork-precise Vampire Weekend of the past. But these geegaw-crammed arrangements feel cluttered rather than curated, and intentionally so—these are cluttered times, after all, and Ezra Koenig is too self-aware an aesthete to think the fascists at the gates need another well-wrought urn to smash. Always thoughtful, often perceptive, increasingly loath to fully enunciate, Koenig recognizes the darker parts of history rising from the murk around him, musing on “how the cruel, with time, becomes classical,” without offering much solace. “I hope you know your brain's not bulletproof” is how he ends the one called “Pravda,” which he disingenuously and repeatedly insists is just the Russian word for truth. With Ra Ra Riot. $56 and up. 7 p.m. 500 S. Sixth St., Minneapolis; find more info here. July 30-31—Keith Harris

Future & Metro Boomin

Xcel Energy Center

“No mistaking it: We are in the era of post-peak Future,” I wrote last year, when Nayvadius Cash was set to bring his “Future & Friends” tour to Target Center in April. Well, a lot has changed since then. First off, that show was canceled. And this year, Future and the big-name producer who shares the bill here released two hit albums together: We Don’t Trust You and We Still Don’t Trust You. Thing is, Future got a little overshadowed in the process, and not by Metro Boomin—with a special guest verse from Kendrick Lamar, ”Like That” launched the rap feud of the year. But though folks seem a little more enthusiastic about Future’s own output than they have been in years, that doesn’t mean they won’t be showing up for the oldies. If they show up at all. $44.50 and up. 7 p.m. 199 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul; find more info here. July 31—Keith Harris

Peso Pluma

Target Center

OK, fingers crossed on this one. First Bad Bunny canceled his March show at Target for unannounced reasons (likely weak sales), then Doble P postponed his appearance, originally scheduled for May. It’s beginning to seem as if the Twin Cities may not be the burgeoning market for Latin music that it had seemed. This Mexican star is the foremost trafficker in corridos tumbados, which combine the aggressively strummed acoustic ballad tradition of corridos, their heavy brass very much included, with Latin trap and other up-to-date beats. On last year’s hit album, Génesis, Peso Pluma compared himself to “Lady Gaga” and “Zapata” in the titles of  two consecutive tracks while boasting with enough flash and swagger to make most rappers sound like diffident homebodies. $49.50 and up. 8 p.m. 600 N. First Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here. August 2—Keith Harris 

Blink 182

Target Center

The latest much-ballyhooed Blink-182 reunion tour—this one featuring the return of prodigal son Tom DeLonge—got off to a rocky start when the band’s all-world drummer, Travis Barker, injured his finger so badly it required surgery. Now, finally, the world’s greatest pop-punk band is at full power, and “Edging,” the lead single from last year's comeback album, suggested a return to their self-titled artistic opus from 2003. (One More Time... ended up being... just OK.) Never mind mercurial DeLonge’s (increasingly non-crackpot) extraterrestrial obsession, and forget Barker’s odd turn as a tabloid fixture: Following co-frontman Mark Hoppus’s victory over cancer, the vibes in Blink land appear stronger than ever. The trio’s fun, muscular Coachella set felt like celebratory fan service. Opening are Pierce The Veil and Astronoid. $39-$550. 7 p.m. 600 N. First Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here. August 6—Jay Boller



First Avenue

No one who listened past the playful swoops and sing-song tunes on Spirituals, beyond the melodic bass lines and Caribbean lilt, all camouflaging the darkness of its lyrics, should have been too surprised when Santi White canceled her 2022 tour. From “My Horror,” for instance: “Think I got a, a hole in my head/I think all the numbness finally sank in/It's making my head decay.” It speaks worlds of White’s instincts as an artist and not to mention her psychological self-awareness that throughout the album she marshals her musical ingenuity as a defense against her depression rather than sulking about it. Like the lady says, “You'll rise back up if you just shake.” And apparently she shook all she needed to and she’s risen back up. $40. 8 p.m. 701 N. First Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here. August 16—Keith Harris

Green Day, Smashing Pumpkins, and Rancid 

Target Field

Remember what I said earlier about nostalgia plays at Gen X/millennial cuspers? This one feels a tad thematically off-base (baseball term), considering Green Day and Rancid were running buddies in Berkeley, California’s George Bush-era Gilman Street punk scene. Both acts, and I say this from live-viewing experience, continue to rock live. The Pumpkins surely have plenty of fan crossover, yet their bloated alt-rock and contentious frontman feel cut from a different cloth; Billy Corgan chose his band’s new guitarist, Kiki Wong, from a pool of 10,000+ applicants earlier this year. Green Day and Rancid’s lineups remain almost entirely unchanged, and the former group will be playing two of their classics—1994’s Dookie and 2004’s American Idiot—in their entirety. Opening are super fun all-girl punk band the Linda Lindas. $53-$943. 5:30 p.m. 1 Twins Way, Minneapolis; find more info here. August 17—Jay Boller

Chance the Rapper 

State Fair Grandstand

This year’s Grandstand lineup is solid if not especially remarkable. Erstwhile teenpopper Becky G put out a very nice regional Mexican album last year. Ludacris and T-Pain will make for a fun twofer. Matchbox Twenty recorded more good songs than the Goo Goo Dolls and the Counting Crows combined. Obligatory country act Blake Shelton feels even more obligatory than usual. I’m neutral on throwback balladeer Stephen Sanchez. Mötley Crüe’s retirement is long överdüe. Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman of The Turtles killed hip-hop. And then there’s Chance. Rap’s gleaming beacon became an unfair backlash target in 2019 when he released The Big Day, a sweet if sprawling album about getting married that rubbed a bunch of snotty cynics the wrong way. I say that if you’re uncomfortable with a rapper being a wife guy, that’s a “you” thing. $48-$148. 7 p.m. 1265 Snelling Ave., St. Paul; find more info here. August 23—Keith Harris

Zach Bryan

U.S. Bank Stadium

I didn’t begrudge the fame this Oklahoma navy vet turned self-made troubadour’s 34-track breakthrough American Heartbreak brought him, but I wasn’t exactly eager to pan for gold in what I heard as “two hours of melodically ambient and vulnerably macho country-folk.” But Bryan muscled past my reservations last year with his self-titled album, 16 songs trimmed down to less than an hour, with a full band kicking him in the ass. He’s a better storyteller and journalist than most fatalists, and aside from his thoughts on that “Oklahoma Smokeshow” whose “big dreams” will be killed by the “small town” (jeez bro, just let the girl have a few drinks and get laid, wontcha?), the women he sings about sound like real people he’d like to understand. Bryan projects an epic decency and non-toxic masculinity without hiding his shortcomings, and I’m looking forward to hearing how this connects with a football stadium full of believers. I’ll admit it, though—I still wish he’d lighten up some. With Turnpike Troubadours & SunDown47. $165 and up. 8 p.m. 401 Chicago Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here. August 24—Keith Harris

Dulce SloanPromo


Loons on the Lake Comedy Festival

Where else are you gonna see Maureen Langan, C. Willi Myles, Jamie Kennedy, Quinn Dale, Don McMillan, and Tom Cotter, plus over 90 comics competing for $10K in prizes? Crooners Supper Club, 6161 Hwy. 65 NE, Minneapolis; find more info here. June 5-8

Blackout Improv

Minnesota’s first all-Black improv troupe performs a Juneteenth show on what’s likely their biggest stage yet—Blackout’s Destiny Davison calls it “a watershed moment” for the group. Free-$104 sliding scale. 7 p.m. The Ordway, 345 Washington St., St. Paul; find more info here. June 19 

Celeste Barber

The "Australian Queen of Comedy" is massive on TikTok. $39.50-$79.50 8 p.m. State Theatre, 805 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here. June 20

Colin Quinn

Comics of all stripes voice respect for the tough-talking New Yorker who used to host Weekend Update. $39.25. 8 p.m. Thu.-Sat.; 6 p.m. Fri.-Sat. Acme Comedy Co., 708 N. First St., Minneapolis; find more info here. June 20-22 

Chloe TroastPromo

Chloe Troast

One of this season’s breakout SNL stars, as past Parkway performer Sarah Sherman was last year. $20-$25. 6:30 p.m. Parkway Theater, 4814 Chicago Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here. June 21

Hassan Minhaj

The New Yorker’s odd, seemingly misguided takedown of Minhaj may have cost him The Daily Show, but he’s still commanding top dollar at 1,000-seat theaters. $59.50+. 6 p.m. Pantages Theatre, 710 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here. June 21 

Andrew Callaghan

The gonzo journalist behind Channel 5 and, previously, All Gas No Brakes is premiering an untitled film project, followed by a moderated Q&A. $32.50+. 6 p.m. Fitzgerald Theater, 10 E. Exchange St., St. Paul; find more info here. June 22

Kristin Key

Hurry up! Available tickets are almost toast to see this queer musical comedian's back-to-back Parkway gigs. $26-$35. 6 p.m. Parkway Theater, 4814 Chicago Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here. June 29

Shane Mauss

Prepare your edible consumption accordingly for this one, which is being billed as a “journey into the mind of a psychedelic astronaut with a consciousness-expanding comedy experience… At the intersection of science, humor, and psychedelics comes ‘A Better Trip,’ the latest work from Shane Mauss.” $25+. 8 p.m. Fitzgerald Theater, 10 E. Exchange St., St. Paul; find more info here. July 10 

Riff Traxx Live

You know you love the locally launched boys—Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett—from Mystery Science Theater 3000. Tonight, they’ll riff live on 1991’s indispensable surfing thriller Point Break. $49.75-$139.75. 7 p.m. State Theatre, 805 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here. July 27

Comedy Bang! Bang!

Be sure to revisit our shoehorned attempt to localize a Q&A with CBB ringleader Scott Aukerman from 2022. This live podcast recording at the Fitz will feature fan-favorite Paul F. Tompkins, plus other friends of the reliably hilarious improv pod. $39.75+. 7 p.m. Fitzgerald Theater, 10 E. Exchange St., St. Paul; find more info here. August 5

Ellen DeGeneres

How canceled is Ellen again? We forget, but if you’re interested in seeing what’s billed as the influential comic’s final standup tour ever, act now. $55-$105. 8 p.m. Orpheum Theatre, 910 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis; find more info here. August 15-17

Ali Wong

How cool is it that Ali Wong is a big star these days, riding the momentum of her Emmy win for Beef? Old-heads who caught her breakout 2016 pregnancy special, Baby Cobra, have known she’s special for a long time. $59.50-$109. 7 p.m. State Theatre, 805 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here. August 17

Dulce Sloan

Fans of The Daily Show already know this senior correspondent has the goods. $35-$56. 6 p.m. Parkway Theater, 4814 Chicago Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here. August 17


Huh, so apparently Iliza Shlesinger is so famous these days that she’s going the mononym route. Additional evidence: She’s selling $200 VIP tickets to a 2,600-capacity theater. Good for her! $39.50-$199. 7 p.m. Orpheum Theatre, 910 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here. August 23

Sheng WangPromo

Sheng Wang

Raised in Texas by Taiwanese parents, Wang mined his youth while working as a writer on ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat. On the road, he’s opened for heavyweights like Ali Wong and John Mulaney, impressing audiences with his Hedberg-ian delivery and delightful phrasing. $35-$55. 6 and 9 p.m. Sat.; 5 and 8 p.m. Sun. Parkway Theater, 4814 Chicago Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here. September 14-15

Jackie Kashian
As we explored in this 30th anniversary feature on Acme Comedy Co., Kashian has been a constant presence and club favorite, even during the lean years in the ‘90s. The Milwaukee transplant moved from Minneapolis to L.A. in 1997 but, just like her close friend and comedic partner Maria Bamford, Kashian books regular homecoming shows. $20+. 8 p.m. Wed.-Thu; 7 and 9:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat. Acme Comedy Co., 708 N. First St., Minneapolis; find more info here. September 18-21

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