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Outdoor opportunities

Being a musician has afforded me opportunities that I would have never imagined jamming in various basements on the westside of Hastings in the 1980’s. On the drive home from a recent show, which happened to be the third one in three days, my mind wandered back a few… well, okay… more than a few decades ago to where my passion for performing live music really started to take roots. How does this relate to the outdoors you may be wondering? Well, considering this is only the first paragraph of the column, keep reading and you will find out.

As it was becoming clear that my athletic dreams were never going to materialize, some very influential people in my life provided me with bits of advice. After a jam session at a friend’s house, a little pickup game of “old guys vs. young guys” hoops featuring my buddy and me against his dad and uncle ensued. The old guys wiped the floor with us young bucks and my buddy’s uncle says… “at least you guys have music.” Truer words were never spoken as we are both in our 50’s and still making music and a couple dollars here and there. Two paragraphs down and you still are wondering about the outdoor connection I bet. Okay, I won’t make you wait any longer.

Once spring hits, many of our shows move from indoors to the outdoor stage. From patios to festival stages, community celebrations, county fairs and more… much this time of the year for an active musician is spent outdoors. The last three shows we played were all outdoors with one being at a bandshell in Minneapolis, another on a 32’ trailer stage at a party in Maple Grove and finally, of all things, on a barge on Prior Lake. Not on the shores of but literally ON PRIOR LAKE. On the day this column hits newsstands, we will be playing at one of the larger festivals in Minnesota (Winstock) and gearing up for a weekend show in Stillwater. Just like the three prior gigs, these shows will all be outdoors. As I reminisced about where it all began, I started to see the connection between the outdoors and music.

All those jam sessions in the basements of Mike (Borash), Rob (Quam) and Kevin (Rotty) led us and a few others to performing at various graduation parties for friends and family. If you are thinking, “I bet they were outdoors,” you are correct. Over thirtyfive years has passed, and we still chat about “the grad parties at Murphy’s on the hay wagon.” There is not much that compares to playing an outdoor show and, I think it is also true that there is nothing quite like listening to music in an outdoor setting. Do you agree?

Concerts are great and venues like U.S. Bank Stadium and the Xcel Center provide a fun atmosphere for just about any type of musical genre that might be your flavor, but I argue that nothing compares to being able to kick back and listen to tunes in the great outdoors. There is just something about not being enclosed by the bricks and mortar of a building and having the sky as the ceiling. From the Hastings Rotary Pavilion to a large festival, a patio at numerous local establishments to the backyard around a bonfire; Music and the outdoors are a combination that exudes happiness, and who couldn’t use a little more happiness in their life?

There are a multitude of outdoor music events happening in the area and I will be sharing many of them during the upcoming months. For those who just cannot wait and wish to do your own research, be sure to check out the various community Parks and Recreation, Chamber of Commerce and City Festival websites to map out the many opportunities that exist for you to experience the happiness that is offered by the combination of music and the outdoors. If you have a connection to any of the outdoor music offerings in the reading area and would like a little extra “plug” for your event, please email me at [email protected] and I will gladly slap some ink on the page for you.

How many outdoor music events are you going to check out this summer? One, Two… a few or several more than a few? Be sure to dress accordingly and bring your bug spray. Those flying nuisances are getting nasty already and July is still a few weeks away. “Get Out and Enjoy the Great Outdoors…” and some live music under the night sky.

June 15, 2022