Local Current Blog

The Pitchfork/Lollapalooza effect: Twin Cities benefit by being in the region, but outside the bubble

Spoon perform last summer at Rock the Garden. Photo by Nate Ryan/MPR.

With the summer music festival season in full swing, Minnesota is fortunate to be a regular tour stop after big festivals in Chicago—notably Pitchfork Music Festival and Lollapalooza. This year’s Pitchfork festival is this weekend in Union Park; Lollapalooza runs August 1-3 in Grant Park.

Last summer, large venues around the Twin Cities were graced by the likes of Vampire Weekend, Alabama Shakes, the Postal Service, and the National before and after their Lollapalooza performances. This year’s Pitchfork Music Festival is this weekend; Pitchfork acts making stops locally will be Sharon Van Etten (tonight at First Avenue), tUnE-yArDs (tomorrow at First Ave), and Hundred Waters (Monday at the 7th Street Entry). The Julie Ruin were expected at the festival and the Triple Rock on July 20, but have since canceled due to a Lyme’s disease relapse.

For Lolla crossovers, we seem to have struck out relative to last year, with only Broken Bells (State Theatre) and Jenny Lewis (First Ave) making appearances—both on August 3. It’s unfortunate the Twin Cities weren’t able to score a spot on either the Lorde or Outkast tour: they’re two of the top attractions at Lollapalooza this year and the hottest festival names of the summer.

We’re lucky here in the metro area that the controversial Lollapalooza “radius clause” does not apply to us. This contractual clause reportedly forbids artists from playing anywhere within 300 miles of Chicago for up to six months before and three months after the festival. Many local Chicago clubs vocally condemn the rule, which hurts their ability to book touring bands in the summer. Festival organizers try to combat this by booking “official afterparties” with some of the big names (Interpol, Disclosure, Skrillex), including the now-infamous Death Grips no-show.

Minneapolis and St. Paul are just outside of that bubble, which includes all of Michigan; Columbus, Ohio; Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin; St. Louis, Missouri; and the entire eastern side of Iowa. It would have prevented future and past concerts here—including Phantogram, Fitz & The Tantrums, Jungle, Spoon, and Cut/Copy—from taking place.

While she’s in town, Sharon Van Etten is recording a session in the Current’s studios today; hear it Friday morning at 7:30. tUnE-yArDs will also be in our studios, for a session to air tomorrow at 5 p.m.

Andy Moe is a student at the University of Minnesota.