Homegrown Music Festival 2022: Day 8
The last day of Duluth's Homegrown Music Festival 2022 mercifully gave fans time sleep in, drink some coffee, and maybe take a rapid Covid test before heading down to Canal Park Brewing Co. (or not, depending on the test results). By Sunday, word of positive tests was starting to spread; turns out a handful of weekend bands had had to cancel for that reason. Plenty of fans were still standing, though, and convened in Canal Park for one more afternoon of music before calling it a festival for the year.
The Holy Hootenanners provided the perfect Sunday soundtrack with their set of country gospel to start the afternoon. Their set, featuring tunes like "I'll Fly Away," was an uplifting contrast to the weather on the last day of Homegrown which, like the first day, was grey and rainy.
Next up, Rick Bruner, normally behind the drums in Boxcar, fronted a new project, Crooked Miles.
The Field Birds were the last performers at Canal Park Brewing Co., creating some achingly beautiful harmonies in their arrangements of old-time tunes and originals. During their set, another treasured Duluth tradition, the Magic Smelt Parade, could be seen getting underway on the Lakewalk in the background.
The final act of Homegrown 2022 was Gaelynn Lea, fresh from a triumphant trip to New York City where she created the music for the Broadway production of Macbeth starring Daniel Craig and Ruth Negga. Fans who trekked over to this outdoor show in the Duluth Public Library Plaza were treated to two of the songs from the production, "The Macbeth Theme" and "The Witch Theme," which Lea said she'd received permission to share, pre-release, in her hometown.
There was a lot of joy surrounding the first live Homegrown music festival since 2019. It was tempered by some loving criticism from artists like Sarah Krueger and Nat Harvie, who wrote an essay titled "I love you Homegrown but I can't do this anymore" for blog Perfect Duluth Day. As post-Homegrown Covid cases started to add up, there was some social media debate about how or if that could or should have been prevented, and whose responsibility it was. What changes might be sparked by any of these concerns remains to be seen before Homegrown 2023 rolls around, but it's clear robust discussions will continue.
Coverage of the Duluth Homegrown Music Festival on The North 103.3 is funded by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.