The best local summer festivals

Music and more, for the three months that Minnesota weather makes like a lamb

Every year, for four bright, shining months the beast that is Minnesota winter shakes off its desolate coat and, like a dozing bloodhound, it turns over to reveal the soft euphoric underbelly of summer. With 10,000 lakes to choose from, farmersâÄô markets begging for barterers and a meat raffle scene dedicated to mustering up grill fodder, little instruction is needed on how to pass a Twin Cities June, July or August. Nevertheless, it doesnâÄôt hurt to chime in with a few suggestions. WHAT: Loring Park Music and Movies WHEN: 7 p.m. Mondays July 20 âÄì Aug. 10 Films at Dusk (Approx. 8:45 p.m.) WHERE: Loring Park, 1382 Willow St. PRICE: Free Thirty-one years running, Loring ParkâÄôs tradition of movies and music in the park continues to be the best thing to do on a Monday night. For four of the muggiest weeks of summer, the park becomes a haven of blankets, bicycles and clandestine cocktails as hundreds turn out to enjoy great local bands and film classics under a wooded canopy backlit by the moon. The artists and movies wonâÄôt be announced until July 1, but itâÄôs not too soon to start getting excited. WHAT: Rock the Garden WHEN: 3 p.m. âÄì 11 p.m. June 20 WHERE: Outside the Walker Art Center TICKETS: $40 With prog-folk masters The Decemberists serving as headliner and Calexico following not far behind, the Walker seems to have the right idea. Want to know a secret? If itâÄôs the same setup as years past, Rock the Garden can be enjoyed for free as you can watch the bands from the Sculpture Garden and surrounding sidewalks. The view isnâÄôt pristine, but hey, the price is right. WHAT: 10,000 Lakes Festival WHEN: July 22-25 WHERE: Detroit Lakes TICKETS: $169 (music and camping) As far as stay-and-camp-follow-the-bands-knatty-haired music festivals go, 10,000 Lakes is surprisingly worthwhile. There are lakes to swim in, the festival is nestled in an aesthetically beautiful area and there are even showers! The lineup consists of a number of competent jam band and bluegrass mainstays like UmphreyâÄôs Mcgee, Wookiefoot, Pert Near Sandstone , Trampled By Turtles and the two night headliner Widespread Panic . However there is a degree of appeal for music fans who donâÄôt identify with 11-minute solos. Mason Jennings and Atmosphere have both signed on to the lineup as well as Wilco, Dave Matthews Band and Gomez. If you like camping and you like music festivals, 10k is an easy choice. Word to the poor: work the festival, you get in for free and may even get paid. WHAT: Grand Old Day WHEN: 7:45 a.m. âÄì 5 p.m. Sunday June 7 WHERE: Grand Ave. St. Paul PRICE: Free (cheese curds not included) For one day each year the planets align and one polished St. Paul avenue becomes infinitely more exciting than all of Minneapolis. This yearâÄôs Grand Old Day will feature all of the old favorites: the parade, the teen battle of the bands, the fun run and the art fair. Six stages will boast music by the likes of Cadillac Kolstad and the Flats, Heiruspecs, Solid Gold and an assortment of others. Prognosis: skip church. WHAT: Basilica Block Party WHEN: July 10 âÄì 12 WHERE: Outside the Basilica of St. Mary PRICE: $40-$150 Expensive and lackluster in content, the Basilica Block Party is a monetarily inflated impression of what a good music festival should be. This yearâÄôs main acts come in two distinct flavors: overrated (The Black Crowes) or disappointing as of late (The Hold Steady). Your best bet is to skip the $70 price tag of the first two days and go to the free stage Sunday morning to watch the Filipino Singers and other civic acts. Or skip the whole thing and save your cash for beers on Bastille Day. Either way, unless youâÄôre a huge fan of Matt Nathanson and old churches, this block party just isnâÄôt worth it. WHAT: Café Barbette Bastille Day Celebration WHEN: 4 p.m. âÄì 10 p.m. Sunday July 12 WHERE: Outside Café Barbette TICKETS: Free The organics/local food-centric Café BarbetteâÄôs annual Bastille Day Celebration couldnâÄôt be a more perfect way to spend an afternoon. The food and drink are consistently stellar and the slightly high price tag is justified by free admission. ItâÄôs French, itâÄôs fun and itâÄôs an excuse to drink outside. Really, what other excuse do you need? Did we mention there are weird French clowns to creep the kids out? No? There are weird French clowns âĦ and theyâÄôre totally creepy.