Entertainment abounds in the Twin Cities this summer

If you are staying in Minnesota this summer and are worried about finding ways to spend your free time, fear not! The Twin Cities offer a wealth of arts and entertainment that will keep you occupied all summer long. Here are a few suggestions:


1. The 6th Annual Soundset Festival May 26:

This annual hip-hop festival features many of today’s biggest rappers, both local and national. The 2013 lineup includes local favorites Atmosphere, P.O.S. and Brother Ali; national mainstays Snoop Dogg and Busta Rhymes; and up-and-comer Mac Miller. Last year’s Soundset also included many other attractions such as DJ sets, local artwork, skateboarding demonstrations and a car show. The daylong festival will take place on two main stages at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minn. Tickets are available either online at www.ticketweb.com or in person at Fifth Element in Minneapolis for $49.

2. The Avett Brothers with special guests Brandi Carlile, Dr. Dog and the Wheeler Brothers June 29:

This alternative bluegrass band, best known for its hit single “I and Love and You,” is headlining at the Somerset Amphitheater in Somerset, Wis. They will be joined by alt-country singer Brandi Carlile, indie rock group Dr. Dog and folk-rock siblings the Wheeler Brothers for a daylong mini festival. Located about 40 minutes east of the Twin Cities, the Somerset Amphitheater houses sprawling campgrounds and a water park in addition to its permanent stage.

3. Summerfest 2013 June 26-30, July 2-7:

This giant music festival in Milwaukee, Wis. spans over 11 days and features more than 800 acts on 11 different stages. This year’s lineup includes Fun., The Avett Brothers and Violent Femmes, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Tim McGraw, MGMT, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Trampled by Turtles and Cake, among others. Its sprawling grounds include several locations around Lake Michigan, promising a picturesque setting. The festival’s website also advertises 40 different food and beverage vendors, shopping and interactive exhibits. General admission for one day is $17, a “Weekday Value Pass” is $20 and a “Power Pass” which gives you access to the entire festival is $60. For more information, visit www.summerfest.com. If you plan to stay for multiple days, note that you will have to book a hotel – this festival does not have campgrounds.

4. Basilica Block Party July 12-13:

Sponsored by local radio station Cities 97, this small music festival is a worthy alternative to The Current’s sold-out Rock the Garden. Taking place on three separate stages near the Basilica of St. Mary in downtown Minneapolis, this year’s lineup includes Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, the Goo Goo Dolls, Mayer Hawthorne, Matt Nathanson, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, Cloud Cult and others. The day after the festival, the Move & Groove Family Fest comes to the Basilica. This event includes free daytime activities followed by a family concert at a lower price. If you order before May 31, tickets for the Block Party are $50 for one night and $90 for both; after June 1, the price goes up to $55 and $100, respectively. For more information about vending, parking, tickets and other merchandise, visit www.basilicablockpary.org.


1. Minneapolis Sculpture Garden Tours every Saturday and Sunday May 4 – Sept. 29:

Summer is definitely the best time to visit the Walker Art Center’s famous sculpture garden, which features Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen’s iconic “Spoonbridge and Cherry” and Frank Gehry’s “Standing Glass Fish.” One of the largest urban sculpture gardens in the country, this garden features 40 permanent installations in a beautiful section of downtown Minneapolis. While you’re there, be sure to check out the Walker’s ongoing exhibits which include conceptual artist Abraham Cruzvillegas’ “The Autoconstrucción Suites” and U.K. artists Karen Mirza and Brad Butler’s “The Museum of Non-Participation: The New Deal.” Mirza and Butler’s work challenges “current conditions of political involvement and resistance” through the use of film, text and performance. Sculpture garden tours are free, and student admission to the museum is $8.

2. “Photo Nation: Photography in the United States” at the Weisman Art Museum through June 30:

While the Walker and the Minneapolis Institute of Art are better established, the University of Minnesota’s Weisman Art Museum named for philanthropist and art patron Frederick R. Weisman showcases distinctive collections ranging from American Modernist paintings to ancient Greek ceramics. “Photography in the United States” encapsulates the development of American photography from the 19th century to the present “as both a form of fine art and as a social tool.” This collection explores the journey this art form has taken in order to become legitimized by critics and viewers alike. Admission to the Weisman Art Museum is free.


1. “Pride and Prejudice” at the Guthrie Theater:

The Guthrie is Minnesota’s premier center for theater performance, consistently staging lavish and well-acted productions. Its great reputation allows the theater to attract some of the finest local and national talent, both on stage and behind the scenes. This July, Jane Austen’s classic novel “Pride and Prejudice” receives an adaptation on the Wurtele Thrust Stage from the Guthrie’s artistic director, Joe Dowling. Considering the Guthrie’s attention to production detail and Minnesota’s bustling theater scene, this production promises to be a worthy addition to the many stage and screen adaptations this beloved novel has garnered in the past. For more information, visit www.guthrietheater.org.

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