Browse By


Rock The Garden returns to Minneapolis, MN for an annual summer music celebration.

Rock The Garden 2017 saw a return of the newly-renovated sculpture garden after being displaced to Boom Island last year. This year’s homegrown festival sported both local and national acts, including some return performers like Bon Iver and Dave Simonett of Trampled By Turtles.

California native Margaret Glaspy opened the sunny festival with songs off of her debut record Emotions And Math. Her sultry voice, clean-cut guitar and personal lyrics immediately charmed the crowd. In addition to hits like You And I, Glaspy also performed newer songs, teasing the audience to her plans moving forward.

Next to play the main stage were Car Seat Headrest, one of the biggest rising stars in the indie music scene. Frontman Will Toledo has already self-released 12 albums, with 2016’s Teens Of Denial bringing the total to 13. The band has history with the music scene in MN with The Current naming them as number one new artist of 2016.

Straight off of the release of his sophomore project Witness, Benjamin Booker was phenomenal and energetic. Of his second release NPR says “[Witness] is an album that follows the cathartic thunder of Booker’s debut with moody, coiled energy”, and I would have to agree. After seeing him perform nearly two years ago, I can say with certainty that Booker has only improved since his debut.

The last act that I caught on the main stage was The Revolution. As one of Prince’s most celebrated partners, these musical legends were welcomed to the main stage with open arms. The group played hit after hit from Prince’s legendary catalogue, and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon hopped on stage to sing Erotic City. Bassist Brown Mark and guitarist Wendy Melvoin played off of each other’s energy throughout the set and I was amazed by their pure talent. By the time they played Purple Rain, the entire crowd was dancing along.

The Garden Stage hosted local acts Dwynell Roland, Bruise Violet and Dead Man Winter. The smaller stage allowed for concert-goers to immerse themselves in the sculpture garden while listening to some of Minnesota’s finest musicians. Dwynell Roland’s charismatic stage presence contrasted to the punkier Bruise Violet. Both artists were well-received and put on wonderful sets. The peak of this stage’s potential came during Dead Man Winter’s performance. The solo project of Trampled By Turtles’ frontman Dave Simonett amazed the fully-packed crowd and hosted a true Minnesotan end to the local stage.

Photos: Morgan Winston