Cedar Cultural Center goes back to Nordic Roots one last time


If you haven’t been to the annual Nordic Roots Festival, don’t put it off any longer! This year’s go-round, its tenth, will be the last. Well, at least it will be your last chance to catch this sort of music under that official name. The scope will be broadened next year.

Robert Simonds, executive director of the Cedar Cultural Center, says, “I would not say that it’s being discontinued as much as it’s evolving into the Global Roots Festival in 2009. This one will be the 10th year with a Nordic focus and, frankly, we’re ready for a change. There are now world music festivals at the same time of year in Chicago, Madison, Milwaukee, and Bloomington, Indiana, and the Cedar feels that we’re missing out on booking many of the bands that are coming over for those festivals by staying exclusively Nordic with [ours].”

The festival was started in 1999, produced by Cedar Cultural Center and Simonds’s record label, NorthSide, which he’d founded three years earlier in order to “release some of the amazing music that was being produced in Scandinavia by young bands who were into exploring the various folk traditions there through the lens of contemporary music. After going to festivals over there, it became my desire to organize something similar here, and the Scandinavian heritage of the Twin Cities seemed like a perfect fit.” So, NorthSide underwrote it in the beginning, after which the Cedar Cultural Center—having secured funding for the festival—completely took things over in 2002.

Now, after having admirably served its purpose, the Nordic Roots Festival is giving way to the forthcoming Global Roots Festival. Odds are, once word gets around, tickets’ll get snatched up in a pretty good hurry, so do yourself a favor and don’t dawdle. The lineup: Waltz With Me and Väsen (9/26; Triakel (9/27 afternoon); Detektivbyrån and Hedningarna (9/27 evening); Frigg (9/28 afternoon); Hurdy-Gurdy and Hoven Droven (9/28 evening).

Dwight Hobbes is a writer based in the Twin Cities. He contributes regularly to the Daily Planet.