Festival Palomino celebrates Minnesotas folk music scene

With Sound Set, Rock the Garden, Basilica Block Party and now the inauguration of Festival Palomino, Minnesota’s concerts can satisfy any musical taste. These aren’t even half of the music festivals that happen throughout the state. Even Northfield hosts the Vintage Band Festival – an annual festival featuring over 30 bands from different time periods.

Why the interest in Festival Palomino? Performers included The Head and the Heart, Trampled by Turtles, Eric Koskine, Spirit Family Reunion, Low and many others. Trampled By Turtles, the minds behind Festival Palomino as well as the fall concert at St. Olaf in 2012, recently interviewed with The Current.

“We always envisioned creating a Minnesota festival featuring the music of some of our favorite musicians,” said the band.

“It’s the folky hipster stuff that Oles like,” Lindsay Shaffer ’16 said. She, along with three other friends, sat on a blanket watching The Apache Relay perform. Behind them a mass of people swayed to the Nashville band performing on the smaller Satellite stage. A couple of other Oles were scattered throughout the crowd.

As The Apache Relay’s set ended, people migrated toward the larger Stars Stage as Charles Bradley and his Extraordinaires set up. Within minutes, the sounds of a saxophone filled Canterbury Park and Bradley’s raspy singing voice rang out through the monitors. An excellent stage performer, he mimicked the tricks and vibes of James Brown and Otis Redding. Reflective of the funk and soul of the 60s, Charles Bradley was one of the acts that really stuck out among all the indie, folk and rock performances.

Along the sides of the field were food vendors and craft beer stations. One in particular stood out: KIND. A newer brand of healthy and tasty bars that are dedicated to making sure you can pronounce all the ingredients in your food. Let’s just say that their bars were tasty.

There were other local food vendors such as the Duluth Coffee Company, a premium coffee stand with a fair trade mission. South St. Paul’s own Burrito Mercado, a Mexican market with a long-standing tradition of service and quality imported products, was also a popular stand. There wasn’t a shortage of delicious food to eat.

Festival Palomino also made room for different independent artists to showcase their work alongside the food vendors. Unfortunately, they were taken down right before a storm rolled in.

The whole atmosphere of the event felt like a step back in time. Families and friends collected themselves on blankets and danced with one another. Children ran around and adults relaxed. If it weren’t for the abundance of iPhones, with the way some people were dressed it seemed like a glimpse into the 60s and 70s.

The promise of the event was that it would go on rain or shine, and Saturday was feeling heavy with precipitation. Right around 2:00 p.m. the weather turned glum and dark. The rain held off for another hour until it started sprinkling. Toward the end of Charles Bradley’s last song, lighting hit off in the distance.

Because Festival Palomino was a show for all ages, the first people off the field were parents and kids. It took a while for the mass of people to move toward the building just south of the Stars stage. It was another hour before Spirit Family Reunion set up on a makeshift stage and performed in front of very wet fans.

Luckily, the setup allowed for a quick turnaround when the weather wasn’t looking pretty. It wasn’t long before the weather cleared up and the sun set, giving off the perfect glow to the final bands. The Head and The Heart was able to get on the Stars Stage and play a killer set against the twilight glow.

Festival Palomino was an accomplishment, and something that Trampled By Turtles should be proud of. The turn-out was huge and the bands were all warmly welcomed. One can only hope that next year’s Festival is an even greater success.