Duluth mayor Don Ness has been called “the most popular mayor in America” (or “the Hipster King of the Zenith City”) — and with good reason, as his approval ratings among his constituents are sky-high. Still, Ness has decided to step away from City Hall to pursue other projects. His last day in office will be Jan. 4, when Emily Larson will be inaugurated as the city’s first-ever female mayor.
Taking inspiration from former Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak’s “Un-Augural” party, the Duluth News Tribune reports, Ness will host a “Thank You Duluth” concert this Wednesday night, Dec. 16. Entertainment will feature a who’s-who of the Duluth music scene, including such nationally-known names as Dave Simonett (Trampled By Turtles), The Murder of Crows (featuring Alan Sparhawk of Low, along with Gaelynn Lea), and Charlie Parr — in addition to up-and-comers like Sarah Krueger. Sarah Thomsen, Jerree Small, and Lyric Opera of the North’s Sarah Lawrence will also perform.
Ness tells the Duluth News Tribune that he intends the event to be “a gathering of friends” with performances by “some of my favorite people in town.” The show has come together very quickly, starting with a text to Simonett — who also performed at Rybak’s party. Parr chose the DECC’s Symphony Hall as his venue, aiming for “more of a quiet, listening” mood than Rybak had at his raucous First Avenue bash in 2013.
The event, which is free and open to the public, kicks off at 5:30 p.m. with a Paulucci Hall reception and book signing, then concludes at 9:00 p.m. with Ness’s final mayoral address. For those who want to kick some jams out later, there’s an official after-party with the Boomchucks at Paulucci Hall, and a CD release party with Kristy Marie and the Forget Me Nots at the Red Herring Lounge.