Local Current Blog

A guide to Twin Cities summer block parties 2018

Twin Cities Jazz Festival (Chris McDuffie)

After the long winter Minnesota had this year, many people might be itching for the chance to get outside. As the days continue to get warmer and the grass greener, it’s time to start thinking about this year’s summer block parties! Here’s a guide to some of the Twin Cities’ biggest block parties, which kick off with the Memory Lanes Block Party on May 26. Click on the title of each for more information.

May 26-26: Memory Lanes Block Party

Memory Lanes will be hosting its 10th annual Memory Lanes Block Party during Memorial Day weekend. This year’s block party will feature two days of live music and indoor activities. The event is all ages until 10 p.m., when it becomes a 21+ event.

Saturday, May 26

Outdoor Stage:

3-4 p.m. – DJ Mason Butler

4-5 p.m. – You Oughta Know

5:20-6 p.m. – Koo Koo Kanga Roo

6:20-7 p.m. – Lady Lark

7:20-7:50 p.m. – Cashinova

8-8:50 p.m. – Dimitry Killstorm with Metasota, Sean Anonymous, and Haphduzn

9:20-10 p.m. – Tickle Torture

Indoor Stage (9:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m.):

Shannon Blowtorch, Miss Brit, Babyghost, and Mina Moore

Sunday, May 27

Outdoor Stage:

3-4 p.m. – DJ Brian Engel

4-4:45 p.m. – Malamanya

5-5:30 p.m. – Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders

5:50-6:15 p.m. – Black Widows

6:30-6:55 p.m. – Star Child

7:10-7:35 p.m. – Sass

7:55-8:20 p.m. – Blaha

8:40-9 p.m. – Butchers Union

9:20-10 p.m. – The Spits

10-10:15 p.m. – Gay Witch Abortion

Indoor Stage (9:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m.):

DJ Trav Ramo Fa Fa Fa, Citric Dummies, the Toxenes and Joust

Admission:$5 per day.

June 3: Grand Old Day

The 45th annual Grand Old Day will feature 150 food vendors, a family fun area, art district and six gardens as one of the largest one day festivals in the upper Midwest.

Admission: Free.

June 10: Funk Fest 

Presented by Sociable Cider Werks and The Current, Funk Fest will have music by Nooky Jones, Astralbalk, New Sound Underground and more. The festival will also feature a range of ciders and food.

Admission: $5 for a drinking wristband and $60 for a VIP package.

June 17: Common Sound Music Festival

Benilde-St. Margaret’s and Beth El Synagogue are partnering to present Common Sound Music Festival. The outdoor summer concert will feature performances by Gin Blossoms, The Big Wu, The Common Ground Company and Amanda and Berek Awend.

Admission: $30 for general admission and $150 for a VIP package. Children under five are free with a paid adult. 

June 21-23: Twin Cities Jazz Festival

Each year the Twin Cities Jazz Festival showcases some of the best jazz musicians from around the country and Minnesota, hosting three days of live performances at 20 different venues in Lowertown and the greater St. Paul area. Here is the schedule for this year’s headliners and some local jazz musicians, who will be performing on the Hiway Federal Credit Union Main Stage in Mears Park. There will also be many other performances by some of the best Twin Cities jazz musicians happening in the area that weekend.

Thursday, June 21

6:15 p.m. – Liquid Vinyl

7:30 p.m. – Hornucopia

Friday, June 22

4 p.m. – Javi Santiago

6 p.m. – Tia Fuller Quartet

8:30 p.m. – Houston Person with the Emmet Cohen Trio

Saturday, June 23

2:30 p.m. – Walker West Music Academy

4 p.m. – Patty Peterson Presents Jazz Woman All Stars

6 p.m. – Nayo Jones

8:30 p.m. – Dee Dee Bridgewater & the Memphis Soulphony

Admission: Free.

June 23-24: Twin Cities Pride Festival

The Twin Cities Pride Festival is a celebration of the local LGBTQ community. This year’s pride festival includes a family picnic, parade, art show and 5K run. Brandy will headline Pride in Concert on June 23, and there will also be entertainment by other live performances TBA.

Admission: Free.

June 24: Uptown Food Truck Festival

The Uptown Food Truck Festival will feature 65 different food trucks and over 10 craft beers at Lake Street and Hennepen Avenue. The festival will also have games, giveaways and a stage with live music – artists TBA.

Admission: Free.

July 14: Longfellow Roots, Rock & Deep Blues Festival

The eighth annual Longfellow Roots, Rock & Deep Blues Festival will feature live music on five different stages outdoors in the Hook and Ladder Theater. This years artists include Black-Eyed Snakes, Davina & Vagabonds, Left Lane Cruiser, Scottie Miller Band, Crankshaft & Gear Grinders and many more. Located in the Longfellow neighborhood of South Minneapolis, the festival will also feature local artists and restaurants. This event is 21+.

Admission: $15 in early bird and $20 general admission.

July 15: Barbette’s Bastille Day Block Party

Once again Barbette will celebrate the French holiday with a block party. The party will have music by MC Foxy Tann,  Nadine DuBois & Les Flies Risque, The Brass Messengers, Infiammati Fire Circus, Theatre Forever and The Aviary & Fly Girl Productions. There will also be food and drink by Barbette and a market featuring local art.

Admission: Free.

July 18-21: Minneapolis Aquatennial

This year’s annual Minneapolis Aquatennial will take place from July 18-21. The celebration will feature a farmers market and a MN Made market with local art, hand-crafted goods, food and beer. There will also be live music, family-fun events and more, with the Target fireworks display taking place at 10 p.m. on Saturday.

Admission: Free.

July 21: Anoka Food Truck Festival

Downtown Anoka will be packed with over 35 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.

July 28: Twin Cities Carifest

This year marks the 25th annual Carifest, which celebrates Caribbean culture in Minnesota. This year’s festival will feature a range of Caribbean food, art and music as well as a carnival parade. Artists and more details TBA.

Admission: Free.

August 18: Saint Paul Food Truck Festival

This year’s St. Paul Food Truck Festival will be packed with over 40 different food trucks and a variety of craft beers in Lowertown’s Mears Park. The festival will also feature games, giveaways and a stage with live music – artists TBA.

Admission: Free.

Simone Cazares is a student at Saint Paul College. Originally from Miami, Fla., she survives Minnesota’s cruel winters by immersing herself in the Twin Cities music scene.