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Rock the Garden and the beauty of outdoor concerts
For the past few years I’ve been volunteering for Rock the Garden at the Walker Art Center. The Walker and co-presenter The Current always sell out the garden and put together a fantastic event. However, every year I feel less than stoked about the event until I’m there, standing in the middle of the hipster mating ground with the smell of various types of smoke, the often-squishy grass/mud, and a lot of people in glow-in-the-dark Vita.mn sunglasses. At a certain point early in the day I always realize how much I love the event. I don’t even care who is playing. Of course, there are bands I like more than others, but I love listening to live music and I love doing it outdoors.
I hadn’t ever seen tUnE-yArDs play but I heard they put on a great show and I was excited to check them out. They were all kinds of fun and perfect for the occasion; I immediately was glad to be rocking the garden. I also got to head over to the Chef Shack truck to get some sweet potato tacos (incredibly delicious) and hit up Cupcake for dessert. @andcowlicks was my partner in garden rocking for the day and we donned our glow sunglasses for a picture in Vita.mn’s photobooth before meeting various friends in various garden locations (always a chore due to the lack of texting functionality that seems to always occur at the event—too many people phoning, I always assume!) and listening to the rest of the bands.
There is no way not to love Doomtree and I also enjoyed checking out Trampled by Turtles before heading home (I started the day early!) to get some rest. The event always brings out a varied crowd complete with some of my ex-coworkers, ex-lovers, friends, acquaintances, and combinations of the above. I like to catch up with as many people as possible but always feel like it’s nice to camp out in a spot and relax while enjoying the music for a good majority of the event.
Instagram and Twitter were stuffed with #rockthegarden photos and tweets—everyone always seems to be expressing their deep love for Minneapolis during this event. It seems to bring out the best in everyone. There is a lot of sharing of food and drinks and other goodies and a lack of pushing, thrown elbows, and dirty looks. Most indoor shows include some random gal’s hair in your face, some drunk dude’s beer spilled on your feet, and a nasty glance when you try to squeeze by someone to join up with friends. The beauty of having the whole garden is the extra space makes it quite a relaxing and enjoyable day and night without all the downfalls of a crowded venue.
Last Saturday I rocked the garden and I absolutely loved it, just like every other year. It’s an event that brings out the best in people and the Twin Cities love. If you’ve never been, check it out next year. It always sells out to Walker and Current members before it even gets opened up to non-members, so my tip is to become a member of at least one or the other before next spring. Bring yourself, some sunscreen, a water bottle, and your garden-rocking outfit!
1750 Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55403