Mid West Music Fest – Winona is April 28-29th, 2017.
Click the images below to find out more about each act!
Indie rock – Minneapolis, MN – Adam Levy is regarded by many to be one of the great American songwriters of his era. Levy is probably best known for his years of work as lead singer-songwriter for The Honeydogs. 2015 saw the release of the raw and emotional solo album “Naubinway,” which is full of songs written in response and reflection on the death of his son Daniel. This special solo set is not one to miss.
Adam Strelow & The Worthy Adversaries.
Americana, Alt-Country – Winona, MN – Veterans of countless gigs in countless bands, Adam Strelow and the Worthy Adversaries bring their collective experience to bear on songs of love, loss, and whiskey. The emphasis here is on songs and the music is about the moment and the delivery.
Indie, Folk – Winona, MN – Started in 2014 as the solo act and brainchild of Spencer Klausing, Afflatus has evolved into a tight multi-piece unit. Drawing musical influence from folk, indie rock, and even a little hip-hop; they have created a sound that is entirely their own.
R&B, Funk – Minneapolis, MN – Rossi is a vocalist, guitarist and songwriter who has been performing professionally for over 15 years. With strong roots in blues, soul and funk, Rossi has created his own unique and recognizable sound from his diverse musical background. His performances most often include a 3 – 5 piece band and a crowd that never leaves the dance floor.
Folk-Rock, Americana – Minneapolis, MN – Almighty American is the moniker of Minneapolis singer-songwriter, Michael Gay. He writes fundamentally simple songs with carefully crafted lyrics, paired with a classic sensibility and feel that will stick with you well after the fact.
Bluegrass, Folk – Winona, MN – Bluegrass vets Kyle Shelstad-Guitar and
Isaac Sammis-Banjo blend their own version of cosmic american music.
Rock N’ Roll – Minneapolis, MN – BBGUN began in a sunny living room, over coffee, on a Friday morning. Comprised of Minneapolis music scene vets, including Al Church and Jeremy Hansen, expect blisteringly tight rock n roll. The City Pages called their debut, “Stunning.”
Beet Root Stew
Bluegrass, Country – Winona, MN – They’d scrape the bottom of the barrel to top off your glass. The energy never fades with a crack bluegrass outfit like Beet Root Stew. The local heroes return to play smart, relatable tales of love and loss.
Americana – Minneapolis, MN – Lubeck is a songwriter based in Minneapolis. He is a founding member of Farewell Milwaukee and has released four records with the band. Rented Rooms, his solo debut, was named a Top 10 album of the Year by the Star Tribune. Written between FM records, the album is Ben’s difficult letter to his father.
Folk Rock – Minneapolis, MN – Twin Cities folk musician and storyteller Ben Weaver is no stranger to Winona.The bicycle is his chosen mode of transportation for all activities in all kinds of weather, and you’ll find him riding it on tour bringing his folks songs and stories to the masses.
Black Eyed Snakes
Rock – Duluth, MN – Low’s Alan Sparhawk project. Heavy swirling trash-swamp-boogie-blues via Duluth. Alive with raw energy. Thwomp your foot, swing for the fences, and let them big gitche gumee inspired licks flow into your soul.
Rock N Roll, Blues – Nashville, TN – The rock ‘n’ roll of Nashville’s own Blackfoot Gypsies sounds as if it emerged from some deep, Mississippi swamp waters. Add a tasteful incorporation of psychedelia, early 1970s Stones riffs, the band’s eclectic visual sense, and the stormy, strutting presence of harmonica player Ollie Dogg and look out. Over-the-top crowd pleasers.
Progressive Instrumental Rock – Winona, MN – Festival Founder Sam Brown performs his instrumental melodies and loops as Bo.Monro
Singer/Songwriter, Americana – Minneapolis, MN – Kocka has been part of various musical acts throughout the Twin Cities—most notably Sun Gods to Gamma Rays and CAETANI. After five years away from the acoustic guitar, and while living on an island off the east coast for ten months, she tapped into her roots and wrote her first Americana album as a form of therapy to deal with the isolation of island living.
Rock – Minneapolis, MN – Four-piece grunge-pop, rock outfit that takes an eclectic mix of influences – from sixties garage pop to grunge to metal. Their songs are chock-full of undeniable melodies and irresistible pop hooks.
Folk – Duluth, MN – By now, a household name near and far in the folk and blues scenes, Charlie Parr returns to the Mid West Music Fest to burrow his way into hearts and memories. Brewing his original songs of hope, loss, innocence, and hardship, stomped and plucked along, Charlie has become a hometown hero in the Winona area.
Circle of Heat
Rock fusion- Minneapolis, MN – Stellar musicians redefining the jam scene with a unique sound that feels pat-on-the-back familiar. Instrumental battles rage amongst the members as they wade in the sonic ocean of their own making, churning with waves of rock, funk, and jazz, ebbing and flowing with each song.
Rock – Minneapolis, MN – With over fifteen years of song-writing and 13 records, Dan is one of the legends of the Twin Cities music scene. His 2015 release “Dan” was hailed by many critics as his best, produced by another MN veteran, Rich Mattson, the record chronicles the dissolution of his 16-year marriage – a “busted life dream.” He wears his heart on his sleeve and writes unforgettably beautiful, and ultimately uplifting pop songs.
Americana, Folk – Milwaukee/Oshkosh – These guys have cultivated a sensibility well beyond their years due in part to the powerful musical and literary force that is their front woman and songwriter, Sarah Vos. Informed as much by modern roots music as it is by the classics, they have crafted a timeless sound. They were invited into the studio by Ken Coomer (Wilco, Uncle Tupelo) to record their most recent album, Cartoon Moon.
Folk Rock – Winona, MN – Inhabiting the crossroads where sturdy, melodic folk songwriting and increasingly bluesy, raucous ambition meet, Driftwood Bones continue to evolve from their high school days when the band was formed. The now-sextet continues to bring a satisfying combination of rock-candy pop melodies and nuanced, mature lyricism and musicianship to their unique brand of folk rock.
Elizabeth Ghandour & The Heighburners
Folk, Americana – Minneapolis, MN – Born to a Lebanese father and American mother, she grew up in the small town of Madelia, MN. She began taking vocal lessons at age 8 and continued them through high school. She earned her degree in Vocal Performance at St. Olaf College, studying Opera. She takes that classical training and channels it into a smoky Joni Mitchell meets old country sound with her band The Heighburners.
Midwestern Folk Rock, Americana – Minneapolis, MN – Mainstays of the Minneapolis music scene since 2008, FM embraces the role that their Midwestern roots have played in shaping them artistically, garnering them fans through their authentic lyrics, lush vocal harmonies, and an honest sincerity at live shows. They have gathered accolades from local and national press, landed a song placement on major-network TV, opened for the Lumineers and Ryan Adams, and are featured on compilations alongside Mumford & Sons, Adele and Amos Lee.
Indie Rock, Alternative, Folk Rock – Minneapolis, MN -Over the span of two critically acclaimed full length albums (2013’s ‘Fathom Lane’ and 2012’s ‘Down By Half’) Fathom Lane has been getting international attention for their wonderfully indefinable sound. Michael Ferrier’s songs are at once accessible and memorable, but are also sneaky with their quietly innovative touches.
Alt-country, Folk – Duluth, MN – Burning up the music scene in the Upper Midwest, Feeding Leroy has come down from the Twin Towers of the North, Superior and Duluth, and have been spreading their gospel on the road. Folky and grassy, the vocal quality at time evokes a gospel choir, with healthy harmonies left hanging in the air.
Americana – Minneapolis, MN – Cody D Fitzpatrick can often be found playing his guitar, pounding away at his battered old Samsonite suitcase, and singing about the way things were and the way they ought to be. Fletcher deals not only in nostalgia and sentimentality, but also of the melancholy brought upon by opportunities lost, mistakes made, and risks not taken in our halcyon days of youth.
Pop – Detroit, MI – Driving pop with a side of rock from the Lower Peninsula, soaring vocal lines, heavy bass hits and fun electronic dips. Dance-ready, be prepared to make friends with a stranger.
Ambient – Minneapolis, MN – Ryan Rud is a one man recording project that mixes multiple genres and sounds to create heady, textured, and sonically rich music. It’s thought provoking music for those aimless drives with no particular destination.
Funk, Rock – Minneapolis, MN – Since their first show in late 2012, a major buzz about the band Frogleg has been slowly spreading throughout the Midwest. Honing their craft with a weekly residency at Bunkers Music Bar & Grill in downtown Mpls., this 7-piece brings a unique blend of Bluegrass, Funk, Reggae, Jazz and Rock. Bring your dance shoes.
Folk, Experimental – Duluth, MN – A classically trained violinist and songwriter, she has been bewitching scores of fans with her experimental and ambient takes on fiddle music, an approach that incorporates her love of traditional tunes, songwriting, poetry and sonic exploration
General B and Wiz
Indie-Blues, Psych-Rock – Minneapolis, MN – High energy psych-rock with a bluesy body and whole lot of heart. Their riotous shows are spurred along with searing guitar solos and larger-than-life stage presence. With a new album in the works for 2017, these MWMF veterans are not to be missed.
Dance Troupe – Winona, MN – Movement performance by local artists using their bodies and light to create fiber optic magic.
Ilika Ward and the Moonlight Riders
Folk Blues – Minneapolis/Rochester, MN – Led by seasoned musical veterans Jake Ilika and Joel Ward and armed with acoustic guitars and vocal harmonies that grab your attention and don’t let go. 89.3 The Current’s Andrea Swensson called their vocals “killer,” “their accessible original tunes explored topics like heartache and hard times.”
Folk – Madison, WI – John Everett Hardin grew up in the shadow of the Piasa Bird. Raised in a small Mississippi River town, he eventually settled down in Wisconsin and released two albums, an EP and an LP, between 2005 and 2011 and extensively toured the U.S. under the name Everett Thomas. During this period his music appeared in numerous television spots, and shared the stage with acts such as Gregory Alan Isakov, Over The Rhine, and Sara Watkins.
Americana – Minneapolis, MN – A recent transplant to the Twin Cities by way of Winona, MN, Ilika has been playing music for over ten years. His songwriting is influenced by the likes of Wilco, Ray Lamontagne, and Ryan Adams. His solo shows are personal, intimate, and soulful and provide more space for the audience to experience his beautiful voice and stunning guitar chops.
Singer/songwriter – Minneapolis, MN – Singer/songwriter Jake Manders and is 200+ original tunes are a frequent guest here at the fest. He also performs with the alt- bluegrass band “The Pistol Whippin’ Party Penguins”. Beyond his songwriting and performing Jake is also a practicing artist and art-teacher.
Folk – Minneapolis/Nairobi – Born and raised in Nairobi, Kemya, the current MN based artist collected a lot of buzz around his cover of Haley Bonar’s classic new single “Kismet Kill”, – the singer herself reported being blown away by it. His own songs are an equally striking mix of indie folk rock. Think Bob Dylan, Damian Rice, and Ray Lamontagne.
Jaybone Bell & Restless Light
Americana, Folk, Bluegrass – Minneapolis/Winona/Burlington, WI – Started while students at WSU, these guys are back with some fine Americana jam grass. Accomplished musicians all in their own right, when they build their little musical engine around the fine songwriting of Milwaukee-based lead singer Jason Ziebell the magic happens.
Garage Rock – Minneapolis, MN – Full sound filled with two members, thumping and bumping rock ‘n’ roll. Alt-rock to the knees. If I had a long drive I would throw this on repeat for at least five listens.
Americana –Minneapolis, MN – Jillian Rae has been a heavy hitter in the Minnesota music scene for years, playing with many of the state’s finest musicians. She’s a multi-talented violinist, lead vocalist, and songwriter and her creative and dynamic style of violin playing and honest lyrics have captured hearts in every juke joint and star-spangled theater the band has played in the past several years.
Pop – Minneapolis, MN – with an absolutely gorgeous voice first honed in his days of boys choir, Ryan is known for perfectly crafted pop songs with his recently retired indie rock band The Inks. You can also catch him on bass and adding his inspiring vocals in the americana rock band Farewell Milwaukee.
Bluegrass, Folk – Minneapolis, MN – Kind Country is a Jamgrass band playing American standards as well as their own brand of Cosmic American music. Since their formation in 2012, the band has focused on creating live performances with high levels of improvisation and energy.
Land at Last
Alternative, Americana – Winona/Minneapolis , MN – a duo that combines acoustic and electric guitar, fingerstyle and slide, and gentle voices singing honest lyrics. Mike Munson and Jake Ilika , forge together their solo styles to create their own blend of Minnesota folk and blues. Their debut EP “I Found A Way” came out this past winter.
Alternative, Americana – Eau Claire, WI – Songwriting sisters Hannah, Becca and Mookie weave influences of Alternative, Americana and Desert Rock with raw emotion in their songs. They are all confident vocalists knowing what each will bring to the table to sing lead, but also support one another with beautifully hard-hitting harmonies. Topping off the harmonic sheen is an instrumental arsenal including violin, guitar, banjo, mandolin and ukulele.
Indie Folk – Eau Claire, WI – Given the water he is drinking in EC, maybe it is not surprising that Nick Lanser builds a relaxed, layered mix of indie melancholy not far removed from Justin Vernon’s “For Emma” era on his debut recording Hilgen House. The music committee are fans.
Listen Here, kids
Post-hardcore, shouty shoegaze po-ro extravaganza. – Winona, MN – The latest avenue of exploration for MWMF founder Sam Brown, expect chugging drone and a driving rhythm section.
Rock, Americana – Nashville, TN – Chicago bred and Nashville based, they have been called a cross between Dire Straits/The Grateful Dead and JJ Cale. NPR Music tabbed them one of the 10 Bands to Watch coming out of this past year’s Americana Fest in Nashville. After a memorable night at the Masonic Theater during 2016 MWMF, we decided to let them strut their stuff at our storied rock club.
Grunge-pop – Minneapolis, MN – At times soft and comforting and at others like a needed slap in the face, Lunch Duchess punches and caresses its way through garage-pop rockers and smooth-and-kind-of-sludgy crooners. Fronted by powerhouse Katharine Seggerman (B.O.Y.F., Bae Tigre), sharp harmonies pair well with the grit.
Folk, Indie – Minneapolis, MN – A force in the Twin Cities music scene Lydia Liza has been making waves with her band Bomba de Luz and her solo vocal/guitar work for several years. Her reimagining of “Baby It’s Cold Outside” created a national sensation this last Christmas season. Her collaborators have included Toki Wright, Caroline Smith and Jeremy Messersmith.
Pop Music – La Crosse, WI – A kind of renaissance man who makes furniture, lamps, photos, and jewelry, Monsoor melds art and music together into an electronic tapestry. His detailed videos were favorites of the music committee.
Modern Brass Band – Minneapolis, MN – A curated collection of some of the best horn and percussion talent in Minnesota, each member brings a personalized dish to the table. Expect their first studio album, King Size Life, to showcase individuals’ talents and bring out the flavors of their personal experiences in other projects. Always served hot.
Americana Blues – Winona, MN – Rooted in the Delta Blues but defiantly midwestern, he is known for his slide guitar work and driving rhythym. An accomplished musician, Munson equals himself as a lyricist, with songs about traveling, loss and frustration. His “Live at Ed’s” was named a top local record by Minneapolis’ Hymie Vintage records, which called his guitar work “too-good-to-be-true.”
Jazz – Winona, MN – With SMU Professor Larry Price on the piano and his son Sam on the guitar, Nanaimo Jazz is a family affair
New Sound Underground
Funk, R & B – Minneapolis, MN – Super finessed funk, bright and bubbly, dark and dank. Drop it down, bring it up, this super-troop will bring your feet to the floor and keep them there, finding a friend or a funky fiend to get your freak on.
Indie Psych Rock – Minneapolis, MN – Countrified, hook-laden psychedelic rock. Front man John Pelant’s vocals are lush and enveloping, with effortless transitions between driving bursts of flanged guitar. SPIN says of their latest record, “A warm and intimate, wonderfully expansive gem”
Rock – La Crosse/Mpls./Red Wing, MN – Brilliantly written rock ‘n’ roll. Bassist Dave Reinders (we love you) departed earlier this year to be replaced by Greg Norton (we love you, too) of Husker Du fame. Rich and sumptuous, easily one of the best rock bands on either side of the Mississippi River.
Puppets w/ Eddie Danger and Doctor Bob
Puppetry, Music – Viroqua, WI/Winona, MN – Eddie Danger is a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, band leader, playwright, festival & parade organizer, story teller, sound & lighting tech, stage manager, master of ceremonies, wedding man, actor, blogger, educator, puppeteer & all around creative being. Joined on stage by Doctor Bob, a veteran puppeteer, whose has been making and performing with unique marionettes of found objects for over 20 years.
Folk, Americana – Minneapolis, MN – A recent transplant to Minneapolis from the back roads of northern Wisconsin, Hanson’s songs strike a chord somewhere deep in the hearts of all Midwestern-born travelers, teachers, and soul-seekers. Her sound is familiar, yet not overly derivative, from a timeless era of true classics.
Reina del Cid
Folk Rock – Minneapolis, MN – Reina’s vocals are sweet as a summer’s day, and together with her band of virtuosos (which includes talented flat picker Toni Lindgren), she delivers a spirited folk rock set with the spot-on luster of a veteran artist. Described by the Star Tribune as “infectiously folksy and fiendishly fun.”
Folk, Rock and roll – Minneapolis, MN – Named one of First Avenue’s Best New Bands of 2014, Cassidy’s music has been described as a “unique brand of hard-luck, blue-collar rock” with “a true ear for timeless melodies”. Often backed by the sprawling Red Daughter’s band, his dynamic live show is not to be missed.
Folk-Pop – Madison, WI – Salty and sweet, Madison based indie-rock duo Seasaw bring bright and tight string and vocal arrangements to fill out a solid sound with a raw backbone, each song a story, eager to give the next chapter in the next song.
Sheep for Wheat
Rock n Roll – Winona, MN – Local Winona rock n’ roll band playing an ecelctic mix of rock, soul, folk and funk.
Indie Rock – Winona, MN – Started as a solo project and vehicle for the music sketches of MWMF booking manager Nick Elstad, Sleeping Jesus has developed into a full band crafting a slew of hazy, indie pop gems on their way to a big year, playing storied theaters all over the Midwest and being named by MN Public Radio – The Current and U of M’s Radio K as one of 2016’s Best New Bands.
Soul, Rhythm and Blues – Minneapolis, MN – The music of soul man Sonny Knight brims with these essential life traits because he exudes them. Along with his 7-piece powerhouse band, The Lakers, the 68 year-old retired truck driver has created a sound that extends much deeper than throwback soul. In the past year Sonny Knight and The Lakers have collaborated with James Brown alumni Fred Wesley and Jab’o Starks, produced their own live soul revue for Minnesota Public Radio at The Fitzgerald Theater (home of A Prairie Home Companion), starred in their own PBS special (airing throughout the nation in early 2017), and released their sophomore studio album, Sooner Or Later.
Sounds Like School Variety Show
Winona, MN – Back by popular demand from 2016, the Variety Show offers an opportunity for local youth to show their stuff on the big stage. Everything from spoken word, to singer-song-writer, to full band glory.
Rock – St. Paul, MN – These soulful, groovy indie rockers led by earthy vocalist/guitarist Cecelia Erholz have a new record out this spring. Their sound is uniquely their own with influences of experimental rock, jazz and psychedelia that is rooted in the past.
The Big Wu
Rock, Funk, Blues – Forming in Northfield, MN in 1992, The Big Wu is the quintessential Minnesota jam band. The band made a mark on the jam band scene with a reputation for hook-oriented songwriting and as one of the earliest jam bands from the Midwest to achieve national success. Touring extensively throughout the late 90s and early 2000s they have chosen to keep it close to home, performing around their home state. Their annual Big Wu Family Reunion has become a staple of the summer festival scene.
The Burke Band
Folk Rock – Winona, MN – The Burke Band uses vocal harmonies, acoustic guitars, tin whistle, and a unique drum, as three brothers and their father weave their way through Celtic folk, acoustic rock and their own original songs.
Rock n’ Roll – Minneapolis, MN – The Coax, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota is a psych-rock outfit. They are Heavily influenced by garage bands of the 60’s and rock and roll bands of the 70’s, their post-punk sound captured in studio is replicated live with a raw energy that gets the body moving, and the mind racing.
The Dead Pigeons
Americana – Minneapolis, MN – Drew Peterson, legendary West Bank singer-songwriter, has been working the music scene for over 20 years and has been the frontman of three successful americana/roots, songwriter heavy projects. The Dead Pigeons have come to be known for their infectious, foot stomping sound – an original a mix of upbeat barroom bluegrass and lyrically driven ballads.
The Heavy Set
Rock, Blues – Minneapolis/La Crosse/Winona, MN –The personal and often heartbreaking lyrics of frontman Jake Ilika give way to straight up barn burning rock and roll. 89.3 The Current called their 2015 release Everybody’s Got a Mountain “timeless, genre-defying, and worth a good long listen.” Winona homegrown favorites, the Heavy Set will be playing the spacious Masonic Temple after filling Ed’s (no name) Bar to capacity in 2016.
Indie, Rock – Minneapolis, MN – After 16 years together, the band has weathered successes and missteps, raised children, seen loves come and go, and throughout, thrived as an ensemble even when it seemed that no one was noticing. We’ve noticed, their certified legends in our book, wrapped into the ever evolving stream of heroes that have made Minneapolis the “greatest of music cities.” Their 11th studio album, Love & Cannibalism is a blissful combination of soul folk, rock and alt. country.
The People Brothers Band
Funk, Soul – One of the staples of Madison’s vibrant music scene, The People Brothers Band is an 8-piece Rhythm & Soul powerhouse whose only desire is to get you moving on the dance floor. Their love for music and playing together shines brightly through each performance.
The Twilight Hours
Rock – Minneapolis, MN – Formed by Matt Wilson (Trip Shakespeare and The Flops) and John Munson (Trip Shakespeare, Semisonic, The New Standards) – Hazy and dazy, flowery rock ‘n’ roll with a backbone. Strum and sing a song a-long, perfect craftsmanship, wash it down with some tidy keys, and make it blossom.
Sludgy Garage Pop – Winona, MN – Homegrown sludgy garage-pop from Winona, MN. Dark motifs, gritty and gallant guitars, steady beats, and spritely vocals blend into a heavy-with-a-halo rock set. Face melters with a side-song of salve.
Them Coulee Boys
Folk, Bluegrass – Eau Claire, WI – Allegedly founded at a bible camp, and born in the back valleys of Western Wisconsin, Them Coulee Boys craft a brand of Americana that blends punk, bluegrass, and rock & roll. Guitar, banjo, mandolin, bass, and a lone kick drum provide the pulse that led one reviewer to exclaim it “impossible not to bob your head, shake your legs, or even strum your fingers along with the beat”
Indie Rock – Minneapolis, MN – Surfy and sultry, the Minneapolis four-piece pour out catchy and grinding toe-tappers that set one straight for a night out or glide one gently into a riot of a night in. Words for the head, rhythms for heart. One of MPR-The Current and Radio K’s “Best New Bands of 2016”.
Psychedelic Post-punk – Minneapolis, MN – Dan Schulte-Sasse, Sahil Merchant & Ben Mulhern- make up Minneapolis power trio Wastrels, self-describing their music as “straddling the line between ferocious post-punk and psychedelia, interweaving hook laden guitar riffs with primal bass and drum licks. Their songs are catchy, and you won’t soon forget them.