Sunday, June 8th the Lynn Lake Street Festival 2014 was most eventful. More importantly, the Open Streets were a treat for those in Minneapolis, especially for those on bikes. I could have never imagined so many people gathering in one part of the city, police blocking off the street while pedestrians and fest-goers drink and converse most of the day. There is a pride that comes with living in the Twin Cities. That pride involves getting outside as much as possible whenever possible (weather permitting) to see music, people, and art, and of course, to drink microbrews. That is what happened. Here is the rudimentary story of how my Sunday turned most eventful…
Well, before I actually start I just want to preface by saying something about the area, Twin Cities proper. The beer and music culture in Minneapolis is, and has been booming for some time. Noticeably in the past few years; a microbrewery seems to spring up in every community pretty regular, nearly on every corner. We probably have more of those than churches now. Yet, surprisingly, Minnesota lacks the ability to keep liquor stores open on Sundays- totally weak. This undoubtedly feeds into the festival culture, particularly on Sundays. It is an exciting time to be a beer enthusiast, foodie, and a music connoisseur in this fine city. Thankfully it has been a beautiful summer so far. We couldn’t do this in January… Well, we could, but I suppose there would be markedly fewer people venturing out into the unrelenting cold, and they wouldn’t be exposing so much skin.
This Sunday was like any other Sunday in summertime (for me), except for the Open Street Festival part. I woke up twice, I felt like shit from the night before, and I decided to go to the BroHaus- wonderful idea- as usual. I woke to my girlfriend leaving for work. After she left, I became bored and decided to see what Dane was up to. He answered reluctantly- and yet amazingly, as he usually never answers my calls, certainly not on weekend mornings. I said we should go to the Lynn Lake Street Festival. He grumbled about something and then got off the phone. It was 8:30 A.M., the day was about to begin. I fell asleep once more and didn’t wake up until 10:30 A.M.
89.3 The Current was on the radio upon my final waking. Mornings in this weather are not to be missed, and they need a soundtrack. The sun would be out today, no rain, and it would be around 70 degrees. I was ready for this because the day before I was shut-in with an even worse hangover, fail zone. It was torrential downpours for most of the day before, save some overcast and eventual sun, which ended the day. Daniel had departed after three days of partying, and I was essentially alone for the morning. The cat was pouncing about and eating my plants…
It was 10:30 A.M., two hours after I told Dane I would be over; an hour after he left to the street festival. I showered, stretched, consumed some food and left. I packed beer and bananas. I was at the BroHaus at approximately noon. The door was locked. The door was never locked, so I knocked. C. opened the door, and she had much to say; some off topic discussion about the lawnmower being broken and someone listening to the floor, moderately random. I called Dane and he started back. We sat in the backyard drinking and bullshitting. The Door’s Greatest Hits played over the boom box.
After Dane showed up with Tim Narc, Erin Neighbor showed up too- with a handle of whiskey. We all sat in law chairs and spoke on the upcoming day. Most of the festival was over, as it had started at 10:00 A.M., but it was time to go now, so we left.
At this point the beers were feeling good. The Jim Beam however was not going so hot. I had merely breakfast sans lunch, and completely forgotten about this fact. My bananas became powerless as the day went on. No big deal though, I moved forward.
The weather was perfect, the sun was out, and there were thousands (I assume) in the crowd. Just inside the Fugiya (I hope I am spelling this correctly) parking lot we started running into people we knew. Everyone was having a fun time, big hugs and cellphone photo ops. There were plenty of dogs and noteworthy local artists (Scott Seekins). People were dressed crazy and rocking their need-to-be-seen attitude! Sehr cool!
At first we were so far away from the stage that we couldn’t see let-alone hear what was going on. After some chatting we made our way closer.
I hardly remembered what was going on at this point in time because I was exhausted from lack of food and copious beverages. I recall not recalling anything, yet still being able to function. I had my sunglasses on and my camera out; no one assumed anything. I was simply another face in the crowd- possibly press. Walking towards the stage we took numerous pictures, as my camera’s memory card suggests. Apparently I am bored with the view I have from the crowd, so I make my way onto center stage without question.
I am up there for about five minutes when I realize the microphones are live, and no one seems to care. I address the crowd to cheers, which is kind of amazing. The sound guys come on stage, and then 89.3 The Current’s very own David Campbell (@thewombatt) walks across. I ask him to give a shout out to my friends and allow me a photo opportunity, he agrees. This is priceless. I am thoroughly pumped at this point. I vacate the stage before getting into anything else and meet up with my friends. RB and C2 have decided to join the ranks, Sea Biscuit is there as well; he stands on backpack patrol for my first stage occupation.
My friends are utterly shocked by my all access credentials. RB is pointing and laughing. This is at the very least hilarious. As I walk down from the stage I have other photographers asking me, “How did you do it?” I tell them I walked on stage, that’s it. No big deal. I sign some autographs and give out my blog info.
I get closer to my friends. As a group we walk, talk, joke, and people watch. The crowd seems to be getting weirder and weirder as the day goes on. At this point I have no knowledge of the time, but the sun is still out. The closing act is Sonny Knight. He had a career back in the day, and now this local soul singer is bringing it back. From a distance I am startled at his stage presence; he was really moving the crowd. I thought to myself: I must get back on stage and get photos. So, being the person I am, I did.
Sonny Knight was, and is great. He came across as the kind of guy who comes from a bygone era, while effectively staying relevant. His music has life. He had three backup singers and a full band, he was doing it right. At the peak of the numbers in the crowd, Sonny rocked the venue like a champion. The best song of the day was “Hey Girl”, naturally, but even less familiar songs moved those in attendance. From behind the stage looking out I could see the excitement, and the power which Sonny held. His set was charged and intimate, and precisely electric. It was a pleasant and unexpected surprise- not knowing he was on the bill.
Sonny played for some time, and then the show was over. The crowd was pleased. I exited the stage at about the same time in hopes of having a one-on-one conversation with the artist. I ran around back as he was being mobbed by fans and snapped at with cameras. He took time for the adoration and with a broad smile he vanished. Sonny was something; to me he seemed like a classic soul singer from the distant past, yet he was thriving in 2014. I wondered where his time machine was parked. Searching, I found nothing…
Oddly, at this point some weird guys came up and asked me more personal questions. I felt uncomfortable and left immediately.
The show was over. It was time for me to go home. I found my bike, loaded up my camera, and headed towards the river. On this bike ride I was mostly walking. My ride home was disorganized and grueling. I found myself in the grass and on the sidewalk. I was starving and miles from my house! Luckily for me the sky was holding blue, and sunlight guided my way. I thought on the photos, the people, and the great community atmosphere which Minneapolis harbors. I needed to eat, and I was looking forward to the next Open Street Festival.
Disclaimer: Some of the events which took place in this piece did not actually take place, so I am going put this in the creative non-fiction/fiction genre. Use your imagination.