While Rock the Garden has come to be recognized as an unofficial launch for summer, it is first and foremost a celebration of fantastic music: from pop and indie rock to progressive folk, cutting-edge art rock, experimental jazz, and more. Each year the bill has its own particular character, and this June proved no exception as local and national pop, punk, and indie bands were alive and kicking at Rock the Garden 2013. This respected and high-profile festival (organized by two nonprofits, no less) has become a staple in the summer music scene in the Twin Cities, and tickets again sold out within two hours. Rock the Garden continues to thrive, grow, and gain national attention because of its quality venue, enlightened audiences, and superb musical lineups. And last but not least, this year it also underpins the summerlong celebration of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden’s 25th anniversary.
Early arrivers this year caught the always entertaining Dan Deacon as he kicked things off with his interactive antics and crowd-pleasing sonics. Hailing from Duluth and lauded for their unmistakable sound, the internationally respected Low took the stage with their earnest and cathartic slow-core song catalogue. Another local boy made good, Bob Mould and band then took us on a ride through punk/pop history with songs from his solo career and hits from his legendary band Hüsker Dü. Los Angeles’ Silversun Pickups continued the guitar-laden party with churning indie rock blasts. And as the sun set on one of the most picturesque and popular outdoor venues around, the Toronto-based power pop Metric closed out the night with their sing-along alt radio anthems.
Each year Rock the Garden is made possible by great collaborations and partnerships with some of the Twin Cities’ best-known corporate citizens and Walker business allies, who are proud to support what has become a local tradition. The law firm of Fredrikson & Byron, P.A. and the Minnesota Twins returned as lead sponsors, along with VIP Skybox sponsor Thomson Reuters, whose legal research service, Westlaw, is based in Eagan. A host of other sponsors were instrumental in making Rock the Garden into a great experience. St. Paul–based Summit Brewery returned for its ninth year as the festival’s official beer, and Minnesota’s own Prairie Vodka and Richfield-based Best Buy returned to support the event for the third consecutive year. Häagen-Dazs Shops calls Minnesota home and celebrated its fifth year as a sponsor. The festival welcomed Etix, a crucial partner known for managing the record sellouts. Thanks to a partnership with Eureka Recycling, Rock the Garden continues to be a zero-waste occasion; our friends at Vita.mn helped to get the word out; and, in what’s become a de facto transportation custom, Metro Transit offered festival-goers a free round-trip ride to the concert on buses and light rail. Attendees were also able to park their bikes at the Walker thanks to easy access to Dero bike racks. Twin Cities Public Television’s Minnesota Original series will be on-site again filming for a Rock the Garden replay show to be broadcast later this year.
All of these partnerships made it possible to present another summer day filled with stellar sounds and convivial crowds: a day for the community and a smashing way to celebrate the 25th anniversary of a true Minnesota treasure—the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.