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Homegrown Music Festival 2024 Day 1

The Children’s Music Showcase kicked off the 2024 Duluth Homegrown Music Festival at the St. Louis County Depot. Studio 4 was already packed before the first act, the Sea Smoke Aerial Arts Youth Flyers, took the stage. In honor of Homegrown, they performed their aerial feats, suspended by colorful silks, to music from local and regional bands including Red Mountain and One Less Guest. Flyer Izzy Furman performed to Low’s “Days Like These,” dedicating the performance to Mimi Parker of the band who died in 2022.

A young woman seen from the side playing guitar and singing into a microphone
Billie Jo Laitinen
Josie Langhorst

At 18 Josie Langhorst is already a Homegrown veteran, previously playing with the band the Langertsons. Her dad Zach joined her on guitar for this year's solo performance, featuring several of her original indie guitar tunes alongside a few Stevie Nicks covers. The kids in attendance then had a chance to get moving with Dan the Monkey Man and the various supplied instruments and familiar sing-a-long tunes, and with the Minnesota Ballet Academy, who displayed their talents with vignettes of bunnies, squirrels, and pirates before opening up the stage for an instructional dance-a-long. The up-and-coming Rocking Rodents closed out the showcase.

A man talks into a microphone while looking at a woman who is holding a microphone. They are surrounded by an audience and there is a banner that says The North 103.3 FM behind them.
Tom Jamar
Starfire and The North 103.3's Christine Dean at Hoops for the Founder's Reception

The adult festivities started at Hoops with the Founder's Reception. Homegrown founder Scott "Starfire" Lunt (who also happens to be a volunteer host of North Country Jukebox on the North 103.3) gave the toast, first joking that the festival had a new sponsor and would be re-named "The Kathy Cargill Music Festival," a reference to the recent controversy over Cargill purchasing and tearing down several properties on Duluth's Park Point. "All venues West of Lake Avenue will be torn down and replaced with pickleball courts," said Lunt, before getting serious and talking about what the festival has meant to him, paying tribute to musicians who are no longer with us, and raising the traditional toast to start the festival. Behind him, Duluth's let's-get-this-party-started polka band, Winzige Hosen, launched into a rowdy set to the tightly-packed crowd, followed by rockers Dog Talk.

A woman sings into a microphone with one arm raised.
Billie Jo Laitinen
Kris Hagstrom of Dog Talk
A woman plays guitar onstage. To her right is a pale blue drum kit and a bass player is seen from the back facing her.
Stevie Twining
Mara Lovejoy performs at Teatro Zuccone

At Zeitgeist's Teatro Zuccone, the evening of music started out with Mara Lovejoy. Lovejoy lived up to the Homegrown field guide comparison to Bowie with a dimensional, rocking, and inventive set of original songs for an enthusiastic - and well-above capacity - audience. She was accompanied by Shanna Willie on drums and Clancy Ward, better known for his fiddle skills in bands like Sugar on the Roof, on bass. As the evening shows got started, the weather turned from just cloudy to cold, windy, and rainy, but it didn't stop patrons from making the trek up and down Superior Street to catch the next act.

A woman in a yellow feathered bodysuit and tall sparkly silver boots stands on a stage holding a microphone in one hand and sprinkling confetti on an audience member's head with the other.
Stevie Twining
Suzy Jazierski of Darling Danger "baptizes" a fan with confetti

At Blacklist Brewing, Darling Danger's set of crowd-pleasing covers kicked off with Blondie’s “One Way or Another” and also included the Beastie Boys' "Fight for Your Right." Lead singer Suzy Jezierski worked the crowd, sprinkling confetti on a fan’s head and declaring them “baptized by the Homegrown chicken,” and dancing out into the crowd with a bubble wand.

A woman in a black smock holding a paintbrush sings into a microphone. Behind her is a man in a striped shirt and floppy hat playing guitar, and next to him is a canvas with the beginnings of a painting of a flower on it.
Stevie Twining
Inga Entheos performs at Teatro Zuccone

Back at Teatro Zuccone, Inga Entheos and her band performed an arty but accessible set of folk-rock, with front woman Inga Weis wearing a black smock and working on a painting in progress behind her throughout her set.

A person stands on a stool in front of a microphone holding a sheet of paper in one hand and a stuffed toy goose in the other.
Stevie Twining
Henry Kneiszel of The Three Ring Goose Circus

Meanwhile, music got underway at Carmody, with The Gavin St. Clair Trio playing soft rock originals to an enthusiastic audience squeezed tightly into the narrow venue. While the Gnarwals rocked Blacklist Brewing, back at Teatro Zuccone, The Three Ring Goose Circus brought some absurdist humor to the festival, with Henry Kneiszel reciting poems like "Godzilla vs. the Crushing Weight of Free Will" accompanied by Jess Morgan on clarinet and Joseph Anderson on saxophone while Alyssa Lucas' clown character made balloon animals, held up signs, and inched across the floor into the audience to illustrate Kneiszel's words. At one point the performers launched paper airplanes into the crowd.

The Shane Nelson Band was up next at a still-full Carmody. The engaging singer/songwriter performed many songs that will be included on his forthcoming album, The Music Saved My Life. At Blacklist Brewing, Shanna Willie and Clancy Ward made their second appearance of the night in punk-rock trio Neatneatneat with Misisipi Mike Wolf. In addition to originals like "I Give a Fuck," (described as their most political song), they did a fast version of the Cure's "Just Like Heaven," and rocked so hard a mic fell over. Drummer Willie took the mic to honor drummers from our community that we've lost, including Ryan "Chunk" Lund of the Black Labels, Mimi Parker of Low, and Ben Craig.

Side view of a stage with a woman to the right playing drums and a man seen from the back at the front of the stage playing guitar. Two patrons are sitting directly in front of the camera and the backs of their heads are in the lower foreground.
Christine Dean
Willem Defoe Fan Club performs at Pizza Luce

At Pizza Luce, the New Band Showcase got underway with Willem Defoe Fan Club, a project featuring second generation Homegrown performer Hollis Sparhawk (who spent her early childhood traveling with her parents Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker as they toured with their band Low) and Noah Ruona. Their experimental set borrowed from shoegaze and slowcore, among other genres.

Back at Carmody, Sidestreet Detour wrapped up the night with a roots-rock set featuring originals and covers, including Neil Young's "Down by the River," and solos from singer and guitarist Russ Sackett that drew applause from the audience.

A black-and-white photo of a man playing guitar with a neon sign reading "BAR" above his head
Stevie Twining
The Leave Alones
A woman singing into a microphone with her arms flung out wide open. In the background another woman plays guitar.
Stevie Twining
Roadside Casino
A person playing drums dressed as a mime with a striped shirt and face painted white
Stevie Twining
Roadside Casino

Two rock bands finished the night at Pizza Luce, garage rockers The Leave Alones and punk band Roadside Casino. The latter started their set with a mime act before launching into a brand new setlist they'd put together for the night. Mara Lovejoy joined the band for the first time, following her own set earlier in the night. They invited the crowd to "front a punk band" by screaming the words "White Castle, Sloppy, Pull Over, AHHHHH!" The raucous set came to a close with a mimed song after the crowd chanted for "One more song!"

Coming up:

Monday is Craft District Night, with music starting at Dovetail Cafe at 5:30pm.

Monday's Dress-up Theme is Magical Monday-think witches and wizards, spells and curses, faeries and unicorns.

Duluth Coffee Company will be hosting music all week by Curly & the Coffee Cats, featuring the Mahon brothers and special guests

Coverage of the Duluth Homegrown Music Festival is supported by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.


Luke Moravec is the host for Northland Morning on The North 103.3. He’s also a local actor, musician and writer. He loves puzzles, riddles and fun mysteries.
Christine is The North 103.3's Music Director, a host of Music Through the Day, and the producer of Live from Studio A. One of her favorite things about her job is the opportunity to share music from the Twin Ports’ many talented local artists. In her spare time she takes full of advantage of Duluth’s outdoors opportunities.
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