Local Current Blog

A guide to Twin Cities summer block parties 2017

Sophia Eris performs with GRRRL PRTY at Rock the Garden 2016 (Evan Frost/MPR)

Summer is right around the corner, and with it comes sunshine, warmer days and — of course — block parties. The numerous festivals and block parties taking place within just a few months’ span in the Twin Cities constitute a virtual summer-long music festival. Here’s a guide to this summer’s not-to-be missed block parties, which kick off this weekend at Memory Lanes in Minneapolis.

May 27-28: Memory Lanes Block Party

On Memorial Day weekend, Memory Lanes is once again hosting their annual summer block party. This year’s boasts two days worth of music, starting mid-day and lasting well into the night. The party is open to all ages until 10:00 p.m., at which point it becomes a 21+ event.

Saturday, May 27

Outdoor Stage

3:30 p.m. – You Oughta Know

4:00 p.m. – Lady Lark

5:20 p.m. – The Shackletons

6:10 p.m. – P • PL

7:00 p.m. – Crunchy Kids

8:00 p.m. – Sarah White

9:15 p.m. – JC Brooks

Indoor Stage

9:45 p.m. – DJ Keezy, Sophia Eris and Shannon Blowtorch

Sunday, May 28

Outdoor Stage

3:30 p.m. – Black Market Brass

4:30 p.m. – Malamanya

5:25 p.m. – Crankshaft

6:20 p.m. – Liquor Beats Winter

7:00 p.m. – Tony Peachka

7:40 p.m. – Monica LaPlante

8:20 p.m. – Birthday Suits

9:15 p.m. – Dillinger Four

Indoor Stage

9:30 p.m. – Lady Heat DJs

10:15 p.m. – Private Interests

11:00 p.m. – The Toxenes

11:45 p.m. – Nato Coles Live Band Karaoke

Admission: $5 per day, free after 10:00 p.m.

June 22-24: Twin Cities Jazz Festival

As it is every year, the Twin Cities Jazz Festival serves as an opportunity to not only celebrate the diverse genre that is jazz, but to also foster the growth of the next generation of jazz musicians. As well as countless performances for attendees to enjoy, there will also be jazz music clinics for up-and-coming young musicians. The festival boasts three days of jazz performances at over 25 different venues within Lowertown and the wider St. Paul area. There are also scheduled Pre-Festival and Post-Festival performances for those who feel that three days of jazz is just not enough. Bellow are the set times for the festival headliners, who will be performing on the Securian Main Stage in Mears Park.

Thursday, June 22

5:00 p.m. – Oskar Stenmark (Partnership with the Swedish Institute)

6:30 p.m. – Emmet Cohen

8:00 p.m. – Terence Blanchard

Friday, June 23

6:00 p.m. – Eric Kamau Gravatt

8:30 p.m. – Anat Cohen, with Choro Aventuroso

Saturday, June 24

6:00 p.m. – Bobby Lyle

8:30 p.m. – McCoy Tyner, with Joshua Redman

Click here for full schedule of performances.

Admission: free

June 24-25: Twin Cities Pride Festival

The Twin Cities Pride Festival is an annual, week-long colorful celebration of the local LGBTQ community. The Pride Family Picnic kicks off the festival on June 18 at Como Park and the festival ends the following weekend with the Pride Festival and Parade in Minneapolis’s Loring Park. The festival features a wide variety of food and drink options, as well as over 400 exhibitors. There will also be four stages — Loring Stage, Stonewall Stage, Power to the People Stage, Rainbow Stage — hosting live performances. The Pride in Concert will also take place on Saturday at 5 p.m. Musical acts are still being selected and are TBA.

Admission: free

June 25: Uptown Food Truck Festival

Once again, Lake Street and Hennepin Avenue will be invaded by a fleet of tasty food trucks for the annual Uptown Food Truck Festival. Over 60 different trucks will be serving up a wide variety of delicious treats ranging from salty to sweet and local craft brews will also be on hand to quench your thirst. Two different stages will feature performances by local artists throughout the day, and Drumcult will be providing DJ entertainment all day.

12:00 p.m. – The Dang Ol’ Tri’ole

2:30 p.m. – Nightlights

6:00 p.m. – Alex Rossi

Admission: free

July 15: Longfellow Roots, Rock & Deep Blues Festival

This year marks the 7th annual Longfellow Roots, Rock & Deep Blues Festival celebrating music, food and art in the Downtown Longfellow area of South Minneapolis. There will be three stages hosting live performances from both local and national musicians. Along with the music, there will also be craft food and beer options to keep you fuelled throughout the day. If you just can’t wait until Saturday to start the fun, there is a Friday Kick-Off party starting at 8:00 p.m. on July 14 featuring performances on the KFAI stage by Curt Obeda & Camile Baudoin, Jeff Ray & The Stakes, and Nicholas David.

Hook Lounge Stage

2:15 p.m. – Jack Klatt

4:00 p.m. – Jack Klatt Trio

5:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. – Colin Campbell & The Shackletons

Hook Theater Stage

3:00 p.m. – Cornbread Harris

4:30 p.m. – Dusty Heart

6:00 p.m. – Poverty Hash

7:30 p.m. – ZULUZULUU

Hook Outdoor Stage

3:00 p.m. – Kent Burnside & The New Generation

5:00 p.m. – Erik Koskinen

7:00 p.m. – Black-Eyed Snakes

8:30 p.m. – The 4onthefloor

Speak EZ Food Court

6:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. – McNasty Brass Band

After-Party at The Hook

10:00 p.m. – Steve Kaul & The Brass Kings

11:00 p.m. – Useful Jenkins

Admission: General Admission is $20, other package offers are available in limited supply.

July 16: Barbette’s Bastille Day Block Party

Barbette is helping Minnesotan’s celebrate the French national holiday with their traditional block party. Along with great food and live music, entertainment such as The Aviary & FlyGirl Productions and Infiammati Fire Circus will also be present.

MC Foxy Tann

Aby Wolf

Black Widows

Monica LaPlante

Nadine DuBoise & Les Folies Risque

Mark Mallman


The Brass Messengers

Admission: free

July 16: Selby Bastille Day Block Party

On Sunday, July 16 the Selby neighborhood between Snelling Avenue and Fry Street will be hosting a French-street-fair themed block party. There will be food, music, a costume photo booth, and a flea market.

Admission: free

July 21-22: Lowertown Blues and Funk Fest

This July, Mears Park will be playing host to the 4th annual Lowertown Blues and Funk Fest. Two different stages will occupy the park, where a slew of local and national acts will perform. Friday night is designated as the funk night, with Saturday representing the blues side of the festival.

Friday, July 21

Main Stage 

4:30 p.m. – Mick Sterling and The Stud Brothers

6:00 p.m. – Chase & Ovation – A Salute to the Music of Prince

8:00 p.m. – Average White Band

Juke Joint Stage

5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. – Brain Naughton Band

Saturday, July 22

Main Stage

12:00 p.m. – Colin Campbell & The Shackletons

1:15 p.m. – Winner of Famous Dave’s Battle of the Blues Bands

2:45 p.m. – Reneé Austin

4:30 p.m. – The Jimmys

6:30 p.m. – Shannon Curfman

8:30 p.m. – Tommy Castro & the Painkillers

Juke Joint Stage

12:45 p.m. – Ken Valdez

2:15 p.m. – Brother Jon

4:00 p.m. – Paul Haaland & Moses Oakland

6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. – Alex “Crankshaft” Larson

Admission: free, but preferred seating tickets available for purchase here

July 21-22: Twin Cities Carifest

For over two decades the Twin Cities has celebrated the Caribbean cultures at the annual Carifest. Caribbean food, art, music and a traditional carnival parade can all be found at this summer festival. Artists and more details TBA.

Admission: free

July 22: Anoka Food Truck Festival

Over 20 different food trucks will be parked on Jackson Street at the Anoka Food Truck Festival in Downtown Anoka. There will also be a stage featuring live bands and DJs, with artists still TBA.

Admission: free

July 22: Lourdes NE Block Party

Join in the block party fun at the 4th annual Lourdes NE Block Party at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church. The Saturday party serves as a neighborhood celebration of good food, drink, friends and music. There is also the promise of fireworks.

Admission: free

July 22: Minneapolis Aquatennial

July 19-22 marks the annual Minneapolis Aquatennial celebration. On Saturday, July 22 there will be food trucks, live music, a special kids zone and much more. And as is tradition, the famed Target fireworks display will take place later that night at 10 p.m.

Admission: free

August 12: Pizza Lucé Block Party

What better way to spend a summer day than by listening to great live performances by local bands and eating pizza? Surly’s killer selection of brews will also be available at this year’s Pizza Lucé Block Party, adding to an already stellar Saturday.

12:00 p.m. – Modern Era

1:00 p.m. – Fanaka

2:00 p.m. – Static Panic

3:00 p.m. – Tabah

4:00 p.m. – Fury Things

5:00 p.m. – Sophia Eris

6:00 p.m. – Haley

7:00 p.m. – Allan Kingdom

8:30 p.m. – Craig Finn

August 14: Red Stag Block Party

The Red Stag and The Growler have teamed up again this year to host the 11th In Cahoots, Minneapolis’s first collaboration festival. This block party serves a double purpose – an opportunity to hear great music and drink speciality craft beer. There will be seven different teams made up of 14 different Minnesota breweries who will each create a new beer that will debut at the block party. Festival goers can taste and vote for their favorite brew.

MC Foxy Tann

Epitome No Question

North Star Rollergirls



Graveyard Club

Black Market Brass

The Blind Shake

The 4onthefloor

Admission: free

August 19: St. Paul Food Truck Festival

Lowertown’s Mears Park will be packed with over 30 different food trucks for this year’s St. Paul Food Truck Festival. The festival will also feature games, giveaways and a stage with live music – artists TBA.

Admission: free

Lillian Speakman is a senior at Hamline University and a DJ for HU Radio.