It’s summer on The Range, and there’s music in the air. A short drive on a warm evening will place you in front of local, regional, national and international musicians in communities from Hibbing to Hoyt Lakes, most often with a food truck nearby.
Experience talented performers, our fleeting summer season, and our fine area parks and other venues all in one magical moment. Take advantage of this region’s strong connections to music, especially summer music.
On Stage in the Open Air
On Tuesdays, music fills Olcott Park in Virginia and the Chisholm Pocket Park from 6-8 p.m. Bring your own chair or sit on the Pocket Park’s benches or the built-in seating at the Olcott Park Fountain. Featured musicians include Rich Mattson and the North Stars, Horse Fzce, Will Durie, Morning Bird and many others.
On Wednesdays from noon-12:30, Hibbing’s Organs in Revue provides free concerts at area venues with lunch available to purchase afterwards. Lanae Ronchetti, Vicki Gornick and other talented organists share the unique sounds in the cool interior of churches and the Hibbing High School Auditorium.
Every Thursday throughout summer, Minnesota Discovery Center hosts Bands, Brews and BBQ, with artists like BitterSweet, Sugar on the Roof, R&B. They also open their stage to special performances by the North Shore Philharmonic Orchestra on July 28, and the Tamburitzans August 11. All shows are free, except the Tamburitzans. Food is available to purchase 4-8 p.m. Admission to MDC is free on Thursdays after 3 p.m.
In Biwabik music fills City Park every other Thursday, Here, concertgoers are enjoying every kind of music from polka with the Chmielewski Funtime Band to the Freemen Bluegrass Band and more. Grab a blanket or lawn chair and plan to purchase food onsite.
If you visit the Virginia Market Square, Thursdays from 2:30-6 p.m. in search of local produce, meats and many other products, you’ll be greeted by local musicians, including Gabriel Holmes, Steve Solkela, Hobo Revival, Mark Henderson and more.
Strike up the Band
The Virginia City Band brings more music to Olcott Park with a series of summer performances Thursdays June 23-July 28. They all start at 7 p.m. at the Bob Baldrica Bandstand. Watch for Hibbing City Band to announce its performances in Bennett Park as well, their first one of the season is June 22 at 7 p.m.
A Festival of Music
No Range festival is complete without music, and there are plenty of festivals and special events to go around! Festival season on the Range kicks off with Land of the Loon and a stage full of performers both days. Next up, the Buhl Independence Day Celebrations includes music at the Hideaway Bar Block Party on June 25th. A line-up of Christian musicians of many genres at Bridge City Music Festival the same day in Virginia’s Olcott Park. Join them for music on multiple stages, vendors, food and more.
Music abounds during the Fourth of July on the Range! In Aurora, Zakk Grandahl Band and Shakey at Best entertain. Honkytonks and The Hangovers headline the Eveleth street dance. Meanwhile, Nio will perform in Biwabik.
In Hibbing, the celebration takes place July 8-9 during their Jubilee. A street dance starts at 5 p.m. that Saturday. Chisholm goes into all-out festival mode during Doc Moonlight Graham Days August 3-7. DMG is concurrent with the city’s All-Class Reunion. Musical acts are featured daily at venues around the city. A street dance is Saturday night featuring Shawn Lappi and the Six 9s.
Next up is Mines and Pines Revisited August 19 and 20 in Hibbing’s Bennett Park. This is a two-day fine arts fair with music throughout. Featured local musicians include Sara Softich, Sam Miltich, Greg Tibruzi and more.
Over in Virginia, you can bet the Olcott Park Brewfest on August 20 will include music with their tastings.
Finally, Hoyt Lakes Water Carnival is full of music, including an August 22nd performance by GB Leighton.
While technically not a festival, and also not free, the St Louis County Fair August 3-7 is full of performances for all ages at various times throughout the event.
Certain summer performances take music to a new level, and the Minnesota State Old Time Fiddle Championship is one of them. Hear performers of all ages in this free-to-the public event in Mountain Iron August 13.
In a class all its own is the Northern Lights Music Festival, offering lovers of classical music “three weeks of opera, chamber music and orchestra concerts presented by an international roster of guest artists, performing faculty and prize-winning young artists.” This incredible event takes place in July. Experience free community performances in venues across the Range. Ticketed shows, lectures and a full-length opera are also on the schedule. Wholly unique to rural America, the Northern Lights Music Festival is nothing short of spectacular.
But wait, there’s more! The Lyric Center for the Arts is hosting musicians for ticketed shows June 22nd with Sam Miltich and 29th with Northern Acoustics, and July 14th featuring The Divas.
On August 13, Hibbing Age to Age presents barn dancing with Sugar on the Roof, including a potluck supper. What could be more Midwest than that?
On August 20, Giants Ridge presents Rock the Ridge with Aaron Lee Tasjan and Mae Simpson.
And last but definitely not least, there are a number of hardworking area bars bringing local talent to their own stages and a few have set their series for the summer, including The Ore House in Gilbert and Jim’s Sports Bar in Chisholm.
You’d think all this glorious music would absolutely be enough, but we’re pretty sure we missed someone, somewhere, and we are sorry about that. Each and every one of these events, and a whole lot more, can be found on our website, IronRange.org, so if you have a performance or event to share you can add it. In the meantime, have a very wonderful, magical musical summer on the Range!