Local Current Blog

How Minnesota is paying tribute, one year after Prince’s death

Prince tribute afterparty at Muse Event Center on October 13, 2016. Photo by Emmet Kowler for MPR.

Minnesota music legend Prince died on April 21, 2016. There are many events taking place across the Twin Cities to honor the Purple One surrounding April 21, 2017 — as people here and around the world will be thinking of Prince and celebrating his legacy.

Listen for special programming on The Current (both on-air and online), and consider attending some of these Prince-related events taking place later this month. Click on the title of any event for more information. Many more events will surely be announced, and we’ll update this post accordingly.

Note: The below list includes a wide range of Prince-related events, collected here for the benefit of those wishing to celebrate his life and work this month. Some of these events are specifically intended to recognize the occasion, and others are simply relevant for fans of Prince and his music. Multi-day events are listed under the date they begin.


Prince4Ever Tribute Fence

Paisley Park has built a special fence for fans — or “fams,” as Prince preferred to call them — to leave mementos, in the spirit of the spontaneous tributes left at the Paisley Park fence last year. The fence will be up through April 23, and is available to people taking tours of the venue; with the exception of Monday, April 10, when the fence will be free and open to the public from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Commemorating His Purple Reign: A Textural Tribute to Prince

The Textile Center is celebrating Prince by presenting Commemorating His Purple Reign: A Textural Tribute to Prince. This special tribute is an exhibit featuring quilts by 24 different artists from across the country. The exhibit has been up since March 9 and is free and open to the public through to April 29.

Monday, April 17

Remembering Prince with author Jim Walsh

Author of the book, Gold Experience: Following Prince in the ‘90s, Jim Walsh will be at the Chanhassen Library. Walsh, who covered Prince for the St. Paul Pioneer Press throughout the ’90s, will be discussing his book as well as sharing his memories of Prince. There will be copies of the book available for purchase, and an opportunity for signing. There will also be Prince items on display for the program, including artifacts from the Carver County Historical Society and pictures from the memorial wall at Paisley Park. Those who attend will also get an opportunity to share their own memories of Carver County’s most famous citizen. The event, which is free and open to the public, starts at 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, April 18

Purple Rain suit at Minnesota History Center

The Minnesota History Center in St. Paul will be making one of Prince’s Purple Rain costumes, as well as other Prince-related items, available and free to view from April 18-23.

Wednesday, April 19

Shelby J at the Dakota

New Power Generation member Shelby J is at the Dakota Jazz Club — a venue frequented by Prince himself, who also performed there — on April 19 and 20 to celebrate the release of her newest album.

Eric Leeds at the Dakota

Eric Leeds, who played in the Family, the Revolution, Madhouse, and sometimes with the New Power Generation, will be playing on April 19 with his band, LP Music.

An evening of memories and images

Prince’s longtime makeup artist, Donna Gregory, and hairstylist, Kim Berry, are teaming up with Allen Beaulieu, who photographed him from 1979-84, for a public gathering to remember and celebrate the Purple One. At Studio 1414 in Minneapolis, Allen and Kim will be sharing some of their favorite Prince stories, along with pictures such as the one below. DJ Stevie Ray Rangel will spin his Prince-only playlist. Tickets cost $25 and this event is 21+.


Thursday, April 20

Celebration 2017

Paisley Park is hosting a four-day-long Celebration 2017, a musical gathering in the spirit of similar events Prince hosted during his lifetime. The event will take place at Paisley Park from April 20-23 and will feature live music, presentations, panel discussions, and more by those who knew Prince best. Acts such as the Revolution; the New Power Generation; Morris Day and the Time; members of 3RDEYEGIRL; and more will be performing throughout the celebration.

There’s also an opportunity to get exclusive Celebration 2017 limited edition merchandise that will only be available for those who have purchased tickets to the event. There are two different tracks to choose from — both feature the same programming — although VIP tickets for both tracks and general admission tickets for track two are sold out. For information, see the venue’s website.

Jesse Johnson residency at Bunker’s

Though Prince is most famously associated with First Avenue, true fans know that he and his musical collaborators also loved to hang out at Bunker’s in the North Loop. Jesse Johnson, an original member of the Time, is holding down a three-night residency at Bunker’s from April 20-22, and there’s a good bet some other “purple” luminaries will jump onstage as well.

Lizz Wright at the Dakota

An example of how Prince remained active in the local music scene and alert to up-and-coming artists is his decision to attend a Lizz Wright concert at the Dakota on April 18, 2016. Wright returns to the venue on April 20, for what’s certain to be a poignant and powerful evening.

Purple landmarks

On April 20 and/or 21, local landmarks including the IDS Center, U.S. Bank Stadium, Target Field, the I-35W Bridge, and the Hennepin County Lowry Avenue Bridge will turn purple for Prince.

Friday, April 21

Late Night Dance Party at First Avenue

Where better to celebrate Prince than at the club he made world-famous in Purple Rain? Jake Rudh and other DJs will spin Prince and related music into the wee hours. For tickets ($10 advance/$15 door), see First Avenue’s website.

Glam Art

Peyton Scott Russell was one of the artists whose work was chosen to be displayed at Prince’s Minneapolis nightclub Glam Slam in the ’90s. That work will be on display in Peyton’s Casket Arts studio on April 21, along with other pieces he created during that era and a Prince mural he painted last year. Tickets ($19.99) are available at Eventbrite; use password WHAT to access the event.

Prince Art Tribute

BlueNose Coffee, located in Farmington, is paying tribute to Prince by displaying Prince-themed work by St. Paul artist Kirstin Hensen in their shop. The art will be on display from April 21-23.

Prince Series Opening Reception

Minneapolis artist Linda Clayton is holding a reception on the anniversary of Prince’s death to unveil her Prince-inspired art series as a way of paying tribute. Clayton listened to Prince’s music as she painted, making each piece distinct and directly influenced by the genius of Prince. Headphones will be available at each painting so visitors can hear the song that inspired each piece. The reception will be held on Friday, April 21 from 6-10 p.m. in Studio 404 of the Northrup King Building.

Purple Love Prince Tribute

Minneapolis funk band Jaybee and the Routine will be helping fans celebrate the life and music of Prince on Friday night at the Minnesota Music Cafe. The event starts at 9:30, and dressing in purple is highly encouraged.

Deep Purple: A Tribute for the Heads

DJ Moodymann — whose Detroit house became famous when he turned it into a Prince museum last year — headlines a show at the 7th Street Entry for fans who appreciate Prince’s influence on dance and electronic music. Hal Lovemelt of PLAYATTA will provide visuals.

All 12 Inches: Prince Edition

At Club Jäger, DJ Dean Vaccaro will be featuring the music of Prince and the Minneapolis Sound at a special edition of the All 12 Inches dance night.

Saturday, April 22

Memorial Street Party

The Current is partnering with First Avenue to host a Memorial Street Party on 7th Street, featuring live performances by musical artists who were touched by Prince’s gifts. The street party (5-10 p.m.) will be free with RSVP. You’ll be able to RSVP via First Avenue’s website starting Wednesday, April 12 at 10 a.m.

Late Night Dance Party at First Avenue

Shannon Blowtorch anchors a lineup of DJs who will keep the Prince party going into the wee hours at First Avenue. For information on tickets ($10 advance/$15 door), see First Avenue’s website.

Dance On ‘Til Dawn 2017 Celebration After Party

Prince’s family members are throwing a late-night after party following the Celebration 2017 festivities on Saturday, April 22. The party will feature a host of special guests, including André Cymone, Marva King, Apollonia Kotero, Jellybean Johnson, and Minneapolis’s own G Sharp and the Bizne$$. More special guests are promised to be announced soon. The dance party will be held at the Metropolitan Ballroom in Golden Valley. If purchasing early-entry tickets, the doors open at 10:30; for those with general admission tickets, the party starts at midnight. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.

Morgan James with Andy Allo at the Dakota

Even if Prince fans don’t all recognize Andy Allo’s name, they surely recognize her voice: that’s her, singing with Prince on his 2014 album Art Official Age. Allo was a Paisley Park regular, and Prince collaborated on her 2012 album Superconductor. On April 22 she’s at the Dakota with Morgan James, who was given Prince’s blessing for her hit cover of his song “Call My Name.”

Thee Beautiful Ones Dance Party

On Saturday, April 22, a two-level dance party will be taking place in Minneapolis at the FIVE event center. DJs Chuck Chizzle and Fundraiser, who DJed for Prince, will be spinning both Prince tracks and songs inspired by him. Tickets will be $15 in advance or $20 at the door, and a portion of the proceeds will go towards the Billingsley School of Music and Arts. In addition to the dancing, the event will also feature the release of the PURPLE REIGN collection by the Minneapolis lifestyle brand Black Excellence. The party starts at 9:00 p.m. and tickets for the 21+ event can be purchased here.

Sunday, April 23

I Would Dance 4 U

On Sunday, April 23, First Avenue will host “I Would Dance 4 U”: a Prince dance party for kids and their grown-ups. That party, scheduled from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., will be free for kids, five bucks for adults. For ticketing details, see First Avenue’s website.

Follow the Purple Path 

You can either walk or run in this free 5K — as long as you be sure to wear purple. The event starts at 8:45 a.m. at Lake Ann Park’s pavilion.

The Purple Party

On Sunday, April 23, Lee’s Liquor Lounge will be hosting the Purple Party, featuring G Sharp and The Bizne$$, a 10-piece R&B and funk band from Minneapolis. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the party starts at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance or $20 at the door and can be purchased here.

Monday, April 24

Ida Nielsen at Electric Fetus

Ida Nielsen, who played with Prince in 3rdeyegirl and New Power Generation, will be playing at the Electric Fetus starting at 1 p.m. and will sign copies of her CD afterwards.

Thursday, April 27

Chase and Ovation at Orchestra Hall

Prince was certainly among the “best of the Twin Cities,” so it’s appropriate that this year’s City Pages Best of the Twin Cities party — celebrating the release of their annual best-of issue — will feature Prince tribute band Chase and Ovation. The venue is appropriately regal: Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis.

Saturday, April 29

The Purple Xperience: Prince Tribute

For those southwest of the Twin Cities, the Purple Xperience will be performing at the Jackpot Junction Casino on April 29. The five-piece Prince tribute band from Minneapolis prides itself on providing one of the most authentic Prince tribute shows around and has been pleasing audiences nationwide since 2011. Tickets for the 8 p.m. show can be purchased here.

Written by Lillian Speakman, Jay Gabler, and Jackie Renzetti