“Mid West Music Fest Fills Winona with Music for Ninth Year” – The Current, April 30, 2018

“Compared to other festivals, there’s something different about the interactions you have with people at the Mid West Music Fest (MWMF). Whether you’re posting up next to someone at a stage or just passing them on the street, people greet you with a smile — as though you might be a friend, because you probably are.”

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“MIDWEST MUSIC FEST WAS FIRE FOLKS!!! Two days. 80 bands. One city.” – The Rochester Posse, April 30, 2018


“Minnesota Music Coalition Declares April to be Minnesota Music Month” – The Current, April 2, 2018

“April is a busy month for Minnesota music fans. Each new week brings with it new opportunities to explore music through a local lens. There are events like the Mid West Music Fest, Record Store Day, and of course the events celebrating Prince.”

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“10 Reasons why music lovers should visit Minnesota” – Matador Network, June 6, 2017

“Over nearly ten years MWMF has featured the likes of Dessa, Nick David, Chastity Brown, Charlie Parr (who is an annual participant), Lizzo, The Big Wu, Jeremy Messersmith, Astronautilus, Dead Man Winter, Spider John Koerner and hundreds more. The only maddening part about the Mid West Music Fest is that it’s impossible to hear everything, which means you’ll want to go back again the following year.”

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“Mid West Music Fest turns Winona into a giant hootenanny” – The Current, May 1, 2017

““So many cities would kill to have something like this,” said John Munson, standing nextto a fermentation tank at Island City Brewing Company. He could have been talking about the beer — which he later praised, onstage with the Twilight Hours — but what he meant was the Mid West Music Fest (MWMF). The sprawling celebration of regional music returned to Winona this weekend for its eighth consecutive year, and the event’s momentum showed no signs of slacking.”


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“Winona’s Mid West Music Fest returns” – Rochester Post Bulletin’s 507 Magazine, April 20, 2017

“This amalgamation of entertainers features household names as well as newcomers, both poised to give Winona one of its best weekends of the year. In synch with its directionally-named festival peer SXSW, the venues span across downtown Winona; from bars and venues to cafes, shops, and religious temples. No one is safe from the music. NO ONE!”

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“Mid West Music Fest Returns To La Crosse With Weekend Of Music” – Wisconsin Public Radio, April 14, 2017

“As a musician in La Crosse, I think it gives us a little bit of validity. It makes us feel like we are a major market in the Midwest. We are a place where there’s amazing, creative, original talent and music.” – Andy Hughes, TUGG

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“Mid West Music Fest Returns to La Crosse with 2-day Lineup” – La Crosse Tribune, April 7, 2017

“There’s a lot of good music. Even if you haven’t heard of it. All of these bands have been chosen for a reason. To really get the experience of this festival, I think you want to get your walking shoes on and get out and see something you’ve never seen before. Don’t feel bad if you can only stay for 10 minutes.”

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“Best of SoMinn 2016” – “Best Music Festival” – Southern Minn Scene, November 2016 Edition.

“It is the most eagerly anticipated music event of the year, taking a full twelve months to plan. Media descends on the town like a plague of locusts. If you are a part of the music scene, or just want to be, you have to be there. No, I’m not talking about South by South West in Austin, Texas, I’m talking about the Mid West Music Fest in Winona.”


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“Another superb Mid West Music Fest” – Southern Minn Scene, May 23, 2016.

“Mid West Music Fest often gets called “the SXSW of the Midwest” but I would contest that comparison as it lacks the hugeness and the star power of the once smaller Texas festival. Even though it mimics the multi-venue, multi band format, the feel is very much that of the land. People are laid back and friendly. Nothing feels pretentious or rushed, everyone is excited and happy. Bands don’t play diva cards and are just as amped to see each other play as the fans. It truly exhibits all the great qualities of the Mid West and of Minnesota.”



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“Armenian band to play MWMF” – Winona Post, April 20, 2016

“There is no contest over which band at this year’s Mid West Music Fest (MWMF) will be playing the furthest from home. When The Bambir headlines at the historic Masonic Temple Theater on Saturday, April 30, its musicians will be more than 5,000 miles from their home near the Turkish border in Armenia. The Middle Eastern rockers did not travel all that way and secure U.S. visas just to play in Winona — they are about to tour the U.S. — but the island city’s springtime music festival will be one of the band’s first of several shows in the states in years.”

Bambir 1452290_10152027060510791_732743288_n (1) WEB

The Bambir

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“Mid West Music Fest: Minnesota’s booming mini-SXSW keeps it local” – City Pages, April 14, 2016

“Set to go down April 28-30 and featuring roughly 75 midwestern bands — including Bad Bad Hats, Jeremy Messersmith, Heiruspecs, Romantica, the Lowest Pair, and Fury Things — MWMF is set up like a small-scale South by Southwest, where attendees hop between venues throughout town.”


Black Eyed Snakes perform at MWMF 2015

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“One day, six venues, 28 bands: Mid West Music Fest Gets foothold in La Crosse” – La Crosse Tribune, April 14, 2016

“Area music lovers might want to pull out their calendars and circle Saturday with bright red ink: La Crosse will experience an unparalleled explosion of music — 28 bands playing mostly one-hour sets in six venues, all of them within walking distance of each other.”


Trapper Schoepp will play the inaugural MWMF La Crosse

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“Midwest events happening in April and May, from Cinco de Mayo to Polka Fest” – Chicago Tribune, April 6, 2016
“More than 100 bands and musicians perform in 11 venues downtown. Multiple genres will be represented, including folk, pop-rock, indie pop, bluegrass, country and roots.”

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“Mid West Music Fest gets foothold in La Crosse” – La Crosse Tribune, April 4, 2016

“Area music lovers might want to pull out their calendars and circle April 16 with bright red ink. That Saturday, La Crosse will experience an unparalleled explosion of music, with 28 bands playing mostly one-hour sets in six venues — almost all of them within walking distance of each other.”


Twin Cities based Farewell Milwaukee to play the first Mid West Music Fest La Crosse

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“Old Favorites, New Sounds” – Winona Daily News, February 18, 2016

“The lineup features a wide variety of musical styles and genres, featuring old favorites and newcomers alike while showcasing the festival’s goal to spotlight the best up-and-coming musical acts both locally and from around the region. Featured performers will include Winona favorite Charlie Parr, Jeremy Messersmith, Heiruspecs, The Heavy Set, The 4onthefloor, The People Brothers Band, and more. Local acts include Amanda Grace, Beet Root Stew, the Winona Brass Band, Driftwood Bones, and others.”


Jeremy Messersmith will be giving a special performance on April 28, 2016

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“Mid West Music Fest” – Seven Magazine. Series January 1, February 1, March 4, 2016

“Months of planning coalesce around a feverish December of negotiations with many of the best and up-and-coming artists in the Midwest. Seven years ago the original intention to highlight Midwest talent in a semi-quiet river town was born. Since then managers, booking agents and hundreds of musicians have come to know the festival as a place where music and community meet.”


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“MWMF Adds La Crosse Shows” – Winona Post, August 17, 2015

“Mid West Music Fest (MWMF), Winona’s springtime downtown music festival, is expanding its programming in La Crosse next year. Last week, MWMF organizers announced that they will organize one day of music at a minimum of five different venues in La Crosse leading up to the three-day Winona festival.”


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“Mid West Music Fest 2015: Winona welcomed a colorful cast of musical characters”, April 29, 2015

“By morning, the rusted vans, cowboy hats, and vintage flower dresses would be gone. Winona’s always welcomed transients—musicians, students, adjunct faculty. Most river towns are like that, harbors for whatever sticks wash downstream. In Winona, though, people who pass through tend to come back.”


Winona’s Gravy Train performs at Broken World Records

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“Maximize the Fest: MWMF organizers offer tips on navigating Winona’s big music weekend” –Winona Daily News, April 23, 2015

“Try to see as many new/unusual acts as possible. This is a great opportunity for discovery. Plus, who knows if/when some of them will return.”


Charlie Parr performs at the Historic Masonic Theater

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“Mid West Music Fest 2015: Like One Big Family Reunion, Only Louder” -Minneapolis City Pages, April 22, 2015

“Mid West Music Fest is our opportunity to be creative, weird, and have a lot of fun at the exact same time. Bring a helmet.”

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“Sounds Like School: The Mid West Music Fest shows true commitment to community through its in-school outreach program” -Southern Minnesota Scene, April 3, 2015

“By fostering relationships between musicians and schools, the Sounds Like School program gives the younger people in the                                         community a chance to experience music they otherwise would not. They also are giving the musicians a chance to grow their                                     fan base, make connections with other musicians and engage the community.”

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“Altruistic Tunes” -Klutch Chronicle, Volume 1, Issue 3, November 2014.

“Focusing on musicians and artists, education, local businesses, and making Winona a more vibrant place to live, MWMF has already proven that it is a force to be reckoned with.”

Klutch cover

Klutch Chronicle, Volume 1, Issue 3

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“Sounds Like School” -Winona Daily News, November 7, 2014.

Har-Di-Har Sounds like school

Har-di-Har performs at Riverway Learning Community as part of MWMF’s Sounds Like School initiative.

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“MWMF launches year-round music” -Winona Post, October 28, 2014.

“It is not just music class, but exposing the children to live music and real performers, just exposing them to that larger world of music and opportunities,” said Riverway Principle Patrick Sheedy.

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“MWMF looks to establish year-round presence, launches fall college concert series” -Winona Daily News, September 10, 2014.

“Our goal is to foster community around music,” festival director Parker Forsell explained. “And we want to do that for more than the three days of the festival.”

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“Mid West Music Fest 2014: An abundance of riches” -The Current Blog, April 28, 2014.

“This weekend’s Mid West Music Fest, in Winona, was an epic event.”


Caroline Smith performs at Mid West Music Fest, 2014.

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“The Amazing Mid West Music Fest” -Southern Minnesota Scene, March 21, 2014.

“The story of the Mid West Music Fest is one of success fueled by belief, by passion, by quality, by commitment and by community. From the outside, it looks like nothing short of a wondrous, miraculous confluence of the right people being in the right place at the right time. But to hear Forsell and Brown tell their story, there’s a sense of inevitability to the whole thing.”

Sam and Parker

Sam Brown and Parker Forsell of the Mid West Music Fest


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