Jul 8, 2021 - Things to Do

Twin Cities venues reopen for summer concerts after year of losses

Lizzo sings into a microphone with purple light shining on her face.

Lizzo is playing at Treasure Island in September. Photo: Carlos Gonzalez/Star Tribune via Getty Images

Twin Cities, that sound you hear is music.

Driving the news: After 15 months of social distancing, concert venues are reopening and big music festivals are booking headliners.

  • First Avenue's 7th Street Entry had its first shows last weekend and The Mainroom reopens July 16.
  • Turf Club held its first show Wednesday. The St. Paul venue is back after being gutted and rebuilt due to significant water damage during last summer's riots. Dessa will play to sold-out crowds tonight and Friday.

Why it matters: Concert venue owners are still in a world of pain as they dig out from more than a year of lost revenue.

  • The Small Business Administration has been slow to dole out federal Save our Stages relief funds, but it's picked up the pace recently, according to a new report. Still, about 3,800 of 15,000 applicants are awaiting review or a decision on grants, as of early July.
  • The SBA has granted nearly $100 million to 80 Minnesota venues, according to the report.

State of play: Talent bookers have been scrambling to lock down bands ever since Gov. Tim Walz announced a full lifting of COVID restrictions in May.

  • The Minnesota State Fair came out with its Grandstand Stage lineup Wednesday. Headliners include Miranda Lambert (Aug. 26); TLC, Shaggy and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony (Aug. 29); The Doobie Brothers (Aug. 31) and Tim McGraw (Sept. 1).
  • Treasure Island Resort & Casino has snagged a few big acts for its outdoor amphitheater near Red Wing. Luke Bryan plays Sept. 3, Lizzo on Sept. 11 and Trampled by Turtles on Sept. 18.
  • Country music festival WeFest (Aug. 5-7) in Detroit Lakes announced its full lineup Tuesday, with headliners Florida Georgia Line, Dierks Bentley and Blake Shelton.
  • Como Zoo has concerts planned for every Wednesday in July.

Yes, but: We've lost plenty of big concerts, including Rock the Garden and Kenny Chesney at U.S. Bank Stadium.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Twin Cities.

More Twin Cities stories