First Avenue is back: live music returns with massive summer lineup

The announcement comes amid the lifted Minneapolis city mask mandate as COVID-19 cases decrease and vaccinations increase.


Audrey Rauth

First Avenue venue sits empty on Wednesday, March 31. The Minnesota chapter of the National Independent Venue Association was founded by First Avenue, along with other local music venues, to advocate for relief in the form of the SaveMNStages bill.

Megan Phillips

As the weather warms up and masks mandates are lifted across the state, local businesses are slowly opening their doors to guests once again, offering pre-pandemic joys such as dine-in services and live music performances.

First Avenue is among the multiple venues that have announced the return of in-person shows, recently releasing a list of over 30 shows set for 2021 and 2022, featuring a variety of local and national artists.

The announcement came Tuesday, amid the lifted Minneapolis city mask mandate as COVID-19 cases decrease and vaccinations increase.

“We haven’t opened yet, but we’re really feeling like we’re back,” Ashley Ryan, the director of marketing for First Avenue, said.

The venue received the green light for live performances for the beginning of June, but they are waiting an extra month before reopening to give artists a chance to acclimate back to the Twin Cities music scene after quarantine separated band members from each other.

Well known artists such as Soccer Mommy, Beach Bunny, Watsky, girl in red and Princess Nokia will take the stage as well as local gems such as Gully Boys and miloe throughout the rest of 2021 through the beginning of 2022.

According to Ryan, First Avenue plans to announce an additional 25 shows next week and this number may increase as bands and artists continue to coordinate their return to the stage with local venues.

“For a lot of the year, bands couldn’t even get together to practice,” Ryan said. “Music kind of took a weird pause.”

But now, it’s back right in time for summer concerts.

Quarantine also gave artists the opportunity to focus solely on their music and as a result, Ryan said “there’s going to be a boom of new music.”

“There are a lot of venues that are hanging on by a thread right now,” Ryan said. “It feels so special to have the chance to reopen and have one of the best music scenes in the country.”

According to Ryan, the venue continues to adhere to state and citywide COVID-19 guidelines. Masks will not be required at shows unless COVID-19 guidelines change, and shows will be held at full capacity.