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Twin Cities Block Parties 101

A&E gets the lowdown on the Twin Cities’ ever-growing block party circuit.
Twin Cities Block Parties 101


Twin Cities block parties comprise all the best things about summer: booze, live outdoor music and, well, more booze. And after an unusually long winter, the warmest of the temperate seasons seems like itâÄôs finally in full swing. Call it seasonal exuberance, or just a cash-grab mentality, but every year the Twin Cities brims with block parties and festivals âÄî sometimes itâÄôs to an obnoxious degree. Luckily, A&E got the lowdown on this yearâÄôs most noteworthy happenings that will be sure to settle any post-cabin fever malaise that might be lingering.

Memory Lanes Block Party

Memory Lanes Bowl Inc. 2520 S. 26th Ave.

Day 1 âÄì Mark Mallman, Pink Mink, The Goondas

Day 2 âÄì Split Lip Rayfield, Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapelles, The 4ontheFloor

Day 3 âÄì Useless Wooden Toys, In Defence, Fuck Knights

When: May 28-30, 3 p.m.

Cost: Free


With a lineup boasting a slew of local stalwarts and the addition of a third day and cost-free admission, Memory Lanes transcends its low-profile image and hits all the right notes.

âÄúA lot of the other block parties are the one-day deal. With this massive parking lot, weâÄôre able to extend it and make it a little longer thing,âÄù manager Greg Peterson said. âÄúA lot more bands overall and a little bit for everybody kind of thing.âÄù

Of all the musical gatherings this summer, Memory Lanes is the quintessential neighborhood shindig, offering some of the CitiesâÄô most celebrated acts. Also, donâÄôt forget to check out the after parties inside thatâÄôll close out each night.

Grand Old Day

649 Grand Ave., St. Paul

Gimme Noise Stage âÄì Arms Akimbo, Communist Daughter, Chris Koza

City Pages Stage âÄì No Bird Sing, Mayda, Phantom Tails

Dixies Stage âÄì Heiruspecs, The 4ontheFloor, Dead Man Winter (featuring members of Trampled by Turtles)

When: June 5, 7:45 a.m. âÄì 5 p.m.

Cost: Admittance to Festival Gardens and live music requires purchase of $8 wristband. Must be 21 years old to enter.


ItâÄôs a bit of an understatement to dub Grand Old Day as just another block party. The three mile-long sprawl is quite possibly the biggest outdoor event of the season (State Fair aside) and includes live music, sporting activities, an arts district and even âÄî *gasp* âÄî an end-of-the-day parade!

âÄúIt stands out as one of the first big events of the summer, especially after long winters like this one when youâÄôre itching to get out,âÄù said Jaimee Lucke,Grand Avenue Business Association program director.

Partnering with several nonprofit groups, the block party also serves as a sort of communal philanthropy event, attracting diverse attendees while supporting programs and raising money for various causes.

If you want something thatâÄôs affordable, family friendly and has a little something for pretty much anyone and everyone, then St. PaulâÄôs Grand Old Day is your best bet.

Basilica Block Party

Basilica of St. Mary, 88 N. 17th St.

Day 1 âÄì David Gray, The Jayhawks, Michael Franti and Spearhead, G. Love & Special Sauce

Day 2 âÄì Ray LaMontagne, Amos Lee, Drive-By Truckers, Citizen Cope

When: July 8 âÄì July 9

Cost: Single-night pass, $40 or two-night pass, $70


What Basilica lacks in affordability, location and diversity, it more than makes up for in delivering big name, nationally renowned acts.

âÄúWeâÄôre lucky that we do have so many outstanding block parties in the area. I think Basilica stands out because we have more national acts than any of the other festivals to take place during the year,âÄù said Special Events Coordinator Meghan Gustafson.

But thatâÄôs about it, really. Over the years Baslica has been pretty hit-or-miss, and if post-oughts light rock isnâÄôt your bag, then youâÄôll have better luck almost anywhere else this summer. However, the annual musical confirmation did add a stage dedicated to all things local, though the lineup has yet to be announced.

But considering organizers probably milked most of their funding already, the juryâÄôs out on this one.

Other upcoming block parties:

Uptown Pride Block Party

Pizza Lucé Block Party

Red Stag Supperclub Block Party

Bastille Day Block Party

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