MUSIC | Shuga Records gets into the Art-a-Whirl spirit with a three-day showcase of local bands

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The former home of the Minnesota Center for Photography will be an Art-a-Whirl hot spot once again this year with Hoolie Fest, a three-day music and art festival taking place May 14-16 at Shuga Records. 70 musicians and artists have been summoned for the free, all-ages event, which will feature art, live music on indoor and outdoor stages, vintage clothing, and—of course—tons of vinyl for sale.


Shuga Records owner Adam Rosen collaborated with 331 Club owner Jarret Oulman to create the festival. The pair thought it would be cool to make a mini-SXSW happen at Art-a-Whirl. Rosen said, “As soon as I told him [Oulman] what I was thinking, he said, ‘we’re gonna kill it.'” Jonah Frailing, who handles booking at Shuga Records, emailed all the bands in City Pages‘ Minnesota Music Directory, selecting bands on a first-come, first-serve basis.


The roster for Hoolie Fest includes Radical Chic, Kid Dakota, Unicorn Dream Attack, Good Day Montag, Claw Like Things, First Communion Afterparty, the Van Gobots, Boone, Fuck Knights, Unknown Prophets, Eliza Blue, Communist Daughter, 8-Ball Deluxe, Hastings 3000, the Poor Nobodys, The Butchers Bag, Wendy’s Band, Torch the Spires, Minor Kingdowm, Nomia, the Japhies, We Can’t Bury Shelly, Lost in Prague, Tru Ruts Crew, the Nightinghales, and Pony Skirt.


The indoor stage has an impressive history, with parts of it once belonging to Milwaukee’s Atomic Records, where legendary bands like Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins once performed. The stage wasn’t the only piece of Shuga that came from another record store. Rosen said that many local stores, like Fifth Element and Know Name Records, offered old shelving to Rosen, who had contemplated buying expensive metal shelving online.


Works by local artists are displayed on the exterior and interior of Shuga Records. “We just had all this extra wall space,” said Rosen. “And I just started asking people in the art community, like Paul [Schmelzer], who worked at the Walker, and I was like, ‘Hook me up with some people with cheap art.'”


Artists will be working on site throughout Hoolie Fest. Screen printer Andy Mcinnis will help visitors make their own tees and will hand out instructions on making a t-shirt press. Rogue Citizen will contribute the second mural on the building’s exterior. Rosen hopes to have a new mural created each year by a local artist. Broken Crow painted the first, located on the west wall of the store.


Shuga Records opened in June 2009, less than a year after MCP closed its doors. Rosen is still trying to figure out what to do with everything the gallery left behind. Some of the stuff he made work for his record store. Projection booths were converted into record listening booths. A large black curtain was re-hung where the gallery once existed, which is now home to Rosen’s huge vinyl collection: the second largest inventory in the world, at roughly 400,000 records.


Music will begin Friday at noon on the indoor stage, at 4 p.m. on the outdoor sage, and at 11 a.m. on both stages Saturday and Sunday. Bands on the indoor stage will play until around midnight and outdoors until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, then on Sunday until about 10 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively. Artists will be working throughout the festival, and vintage clothing and other items will be available for sale. Profits from the event will go to St. Stephen’s, a South Minneapolis homeless shelter.

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