Summer Fun in Duluth – Part One

After this year’s record-breaking Northland winter, it’s time to remember other seasons we love. Specifically, the spirit-lifting balm that is summer’s Bayfront Festival Park.  

You know it’s a magical place when just thinking about it feels like a meditation app: The feeling of a blanket laid on the grass in the warm sun. The cool breeze off the bay. Turning your attention to the stage to see a freighter steaming behind the band as it heads toward the raised Lift Bridge.  

And the comfort of your best friends, a cool beverage in your hand and a basket of food truck eats in your lap – it’s just different here.  

And the best news is that summer is at its very beginning, so you can be part of it all. You may want to post this list on your refrigerator! 


Music & Festivals 

Starting with the officially unofficial start to summer, Grandma’s Marathon (6/17). In addition to being the home of the Essential Health Fitness Expo and the Michelina’s All-You-Can-Eat Spaghetti Dinner, the DECC also hosts a Bloody Mary & Bacon Bar from the Turf Deck overlooking the race. This is a bit of a “secret” spot with fewer spectators and excellent Lift Bridge views. Then it’s Rock the Bayfront, an admission-free music and fun party held at Bayfront both Friday and Saturday nights.  

From there, the park remakes itself for Jon Pardi in the Park (6/23), your big chance to hear live, outdoor country music this summer in Bayfront! This platinum-certified singer will be playing from his popular Mr. Saturday Night album, as well as his many #1 and smash hits. 

The Doobie Brothers’ 50th Anniversary Tour (6/20) Some concerts are so big they require an arena! Featuring original members Michael McDonald, Pat Simmons, Tom Johnston and John McFee, this once-in-a lifetime tour will bring the energy and memories. Hits include Listen to the Music, Jesus Is Just All Right, Rockin’ Down the Highway, Long Train Runnin’ so many more you know by heart. 

After guesting on the Bayfront Stage, the band Hippo Campus (6/24), wanted to return and re-live one of their most magical concert nights. This Minneapolis indie rock band has been together since middle school and have several acclaimed releases, including their latest album LP3. 

Something big for the littles! It’s Bluey’s Big Play (6/28). Emmy-award winning, family entertainment comes to the Symphony Hall stage. The show on Disney+ is loved and now brought to life with gorgeous puppetry to a soundtrack created for the show by the original television cast. 

Legendary Canadian band, The Guess Who (6/30) comes for an intimate performance in Symphony Hall. Their impressive catalogue includes American Woman, These Eyes, and No Time. Fans span multiple generations enjoying the show that celebrates being alive and thriving in these uncertain times. Also special, the re-furbished mezzanine bar will make its debut! 

Then rapper and singer, Flo Rida with Twista (6/30) will sing songs you know by heart like Low, Wild Ones, and Whistle. His sound is a blend of hip hop, pop, and electronic dance music with catchy hooks and pulsing beats. Flo Rida’s high-energy sounds like the summer dance party we deserve! 

And on the eve of Fourth Fest (7/04) in Bayfront, it’s a different kind of fireworks. HAIRBALL! (7/03) –– this annual performance is playfully known as the Northland’s class reunion as we fill the park for arguably one of the best cover bands anywhere. It’s like 20 CONCERTS IN ONE NIGHT, with incredible costumes, lights, smoke, sound and screaming fans. Come enjoy the newly configured VIP area! 

Is it even summer in Duluth, if Trampled by Turtles (7/08) doesn’t return home? We’re not just being sentimental, their fast-paced progressive bluegrass with rock overtones is beloved for its danceable sound. Their fifth release, Palomino, stayed in the chart’s Top 10 for 52 straight weeks! This will surely sell out Bayfront, so don’t wait. 

We look forward to Bayfront’s Reggae & World Music Festival (7/15) every year. It’s cultural entertainment whose artists spread a message of love, hope, and equality for all people worldwide. That warm vibe is only made better by some of our favorite festival foods with the flavors of Jamaica and other far-off places.  Watch for the second half of summer in an upcoming issue!