Walker’s Garden to be rocked again this year

The Hallmark local music event of the summer, Rock the Garden, brings some heavy hitters to the Walker’s greens.

Mark Brenden


Rock the Garden

Who: My Morning Jacket, Neko Case, Booker T. Jones, Tapes âÄòn Tapes

Where: Walker Art Center/Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, 1750 Hennepin Ave.

When: Saturday, June 19, 3-10:30 p.m.

Cost: $40 general admission

Hosted by The Current DJs, set outside of the Walker, donning an âÄúindie mainstreamâÄù bill, Rock the Garden has become something that the most insincere Minneapolis hipster may now scoff at. While it may not be Coachella, thereâÄôs little room for complaints. There will be beer (Summit), there will be vodka (Prairie Organic) and there will be some great live acts (My Morning Jacket).

The event, now in its ninth year, has certainly grown. Since The Current came aboard as co-presenter in 2008, it has reached its 10,000-person capacity âÄî this year it did so within 24 hours. Multiply that by a $40 admission fee and youâÄôve got a healthy fundraiser for the Walker and The Current.

Other changes include collaboration with local zero-waste organization Eureka Recycling to conduct a mean, green cleanup. Event publicist Rachel Joyce said even the bands were involved in the effort of cutting down the waste.

In that case, the most famous custodians will be seminal falsetto rockers My Morning Jacket. The southerners have been in the game for over a decade now, and though their latest studio efforts have waned in quality, their live act is continually revered as some of the best around.

Joining them will be country-tinged songstress Neko Case and Mr. âÄúGreen OnionsâÄù himself, Booker T. Jones, who is at lifetime-achievement status.

Each year, the Walker also brings at least one local act to aid in the garden-rocking efforts. This year they roped in hooky indie rockers Tapes âÄòn Tapes. Josh Grier, guitarist and vocalist for the group, has graced the Coachella stage and tasted pseudo-mainstream success, but regularly returns to check up on his hometown, which he said âÄúbafflesâÄù him with the way its arts scene has grown. To round off their Minneapolis festival circuit, the band is also slated to play the Minnesota State Fair in September.

âÄúIt seems like thereâÄôs more familiarity playing around town,âÄù Grier said. âÄúThere are other places that have been very receptive to us, but [playing in Minneapolis] is just always more special.âÄù

While this is the first time the group will Rock the Garden, Grier has attended the event as a fan. In 2003, he saw Wilco and The Bad Plus, which he said helped his decision to play the festival âÄî and to perhaps get a little rowdy in the process.

âÄúThereâÄôs a little bit more stage to play around on âÄî little more area to get ridiculous,âÄù he said. âÄúWeâÄôll spread out and run around a little bit âÄî take advantage of that.âÄù