71 bands, one weekend: Mid West Music Fest challenges fans – Post Bulletin

WINONA, Minn. — Mid West Music Fest’s impressive spring lineup also features a Minnesota punk icon.

The schedule for the spring half of the annual music festival in Winona, Minnesota and La Crosse, Wisconsin has been officially announced.

A highlight for fans of old-school Minnesota punk wraps up the first night of Music Friday at No Name Bar. Greg Norton, bassist for legendary Minnesota punk band Hüsker Dü, plays with his current band Ultrabomb. They hit the No Name stage at midnight on Friday (OK, technically Saturday morning, I know how time works).

Norton isn’t the only star at Ultrabomb. Finny McConnell, frontman of Canadian Irish folk-punk band The Mahones, and drummer Jamie Oliver of British punk band UK Subs make up the rest of Ultrabomb.

This year’s spring stage will feature one less venue than last year, but will also feature 71 bands, up from the 67 bands that performed last year.

“This is the tightest lineup in recent memory,” said Nathaniel Nelson, the festival’s director of bookings.

Sam Tueson, executive director of the festival, said the diverse lineup reflects the diverse people and musical styles of the Midwest and Driftless area. Thueson was hired by the festival board three months ago and said he’s excited to step in and continue the work the staff and volunteers started to put the event together.

Nelson added that it’s also the most diverse lineup he can remember, with a broader representation of BIPOC artists than in years past.

The staggered start times and schedule allowed organizers to add more music despite one less venue. It also gives the more ambitious festival-goers a chance to see all the bands.

“There’s some overlap here and there, but the places are close enough together, you can do it.”

This year’s Winona installment of the Mid West Music Fest was moved a few weeks later in the year. Last year it was held a little earlier to give some distance between the spring event in Winona and the early fall half of the festival in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

This year the La Crosse half was moved to November.

Organizers say it’s to give the two halves of the festival room a breather from each other and other late summer and early fall events in the area.

Last year’s La Crosse half of the festival didn’t have the turnout organizers had hoped for, they said.

“There are still a lot of late-season events in and around La Crosse that haven’t helped us,” said Nathaniel Nelson, the festival’s director of bookings. “A November date really sets the La Crosse festival apart.”

The festival includes children’s activities and a family zone; free yoga on the levee from 10am Saturday May 13 and a free farmers market from 10am to noon Saturday May 13.

Headliners for Friday, May 12 include:

We Are the Willows play the Big Turn Music Festival on February 22, 2020.

File photo for publishing newsletter

  • 6:45 p.m., Blooming Grounds Cafe — Bonner Black.
  • 7:30 p.m., acoustic cafe — themselves.
  • 9 p.m., Island City Brewing Co. — The People Brothers Band.
  • 21:45, Peter’s Biergarten — Space Monkey Mafia.
  • 10:15 p.m., Levee Park — NNAMDÏ.
  • 11:30 p.m., Eagles Club — We Are the Willows.
  • Midnight, No Name Tape — Ultrabomb.

Headliners for Saturday, May 13 include:

Siri Undlin of Humbird

Siri Undlin of Humbird


  • 6:45 p.m., Blooming Grounds Cafe — Kashimana.
  • 7:45 p.m., Acoustic Cafe — My Grandma’s Cardigan.
  • 9 p.m., Island City Brewing Co. — Purple Funk Metropolis.
  • 21:15, Peter’s beer garden — elegance!
  • 10:15 p.m., Levy Park – Your Smith.
  • 11:30 p.m., Eagles Club — Humbird.
  • Midnight, No Name Bar — Early Eyes.
John Moleside

John Moleseed joined the Post Bulletin in 2018. He covers arts, culture, entertainment, nature and other fun stories he’s surprised he gets paid to cover. When he’s not writing articles about Southeast Minnesota artists and musicians, he’s either picking banjos, brewing beer, riding bikes, or pursuing other hobbies that start with the letter “b.” Readers can contact John at 507-285-7713 or [email protected].

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